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#357911 - 03/28/11 09:51 AM Not All Nonsurvivors Want to Avoid Understanding.
Disappointed Offline


Registered: 08/11/09
Posts: 540
Loc: U.S.A.
A topic that comes up regularly by Survivors, is about people who don't want to hear about boys and men being victims, about how we don't want to hear about it, or deal with it, or accept it, or understand it, or we want to deny it, et cetera et cetera. Or could never understand....

Well, I don't doubt it's true that dysfunctional family members (like the ones who committed the crimes, or who ignored the crimes) have those attitudes. But painting everyone with that brush is just one big mistake.

People like me, we NEVER HEARD that sex crimes against kids had life long effects, much less what any of them were. As far as I knew, until a few years ago, I never knew ANYONE who suffered this as a child. Or adult!!! So, if I don't know or understand, it's because no one ever told me. Not because I wanted to deny it, or I thought men couldn't be victims, or I was afraid to hear about it, or I couldn't open my mind to it or listen to it.

So, I'm not here to prejudge. I'm here to learn.

I have learned - thanks to me own actions - that there are preconceptions out there I wasn't aware of. That abused boys will become abusers. I found this out by mentioning with a group of women I belong to, (no, not at a hike! Another group!!!), that I have a friend who was abused as a child, and mentioned this site, and talked about criminal penalties should be life, not a few years, etc.

They were sympathetic but concerned. One of the women said she thought they would become abusers. And another said, "They should get over it and move on." But, the point is, to get the word out. They don't know better, becuase they hadn't delved into it. The media isn't teaching the details. 15 second soundbites don't educate. I'm living proof of that.

The great thing about me, a friend, casually mentioning this is, you find out who might be receptive and who isn't.

Anyway, painting everyone with the same brush is a mistake. If we can't understand, it's mostly because we are not mindreaders!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

P.S. FYI, if your friends laugh when you say you have issues, because they think you're perfect, what is really happening is that you have been sooo skillful at creating a beautiful mask, that they find it hard to believe. And THAT is exactly what you were aiming for - for you to appear as though you had no issues. Success- a two-edged sword.

P.P.S. Also, for us non-survivors, please bear in mind, that since it will be new turf for us, we don't know and are afraid to guess how you want us to react. Because we don't want to hurt your feelings. It's like to me, when someone has a family member that dies, what do you say? There's never a good thing to say. My friend, sometimes when I talk to him about it, or try to, he says his head is spinning. So, I think I've said too much. Then, the next week, he'll write me and say how great it is that I talked to him about it!! So, you know, we're on egg shells here, cause like anyone that's been hurt, you're sensitive.



Edited by Disappointed (03/28/11 10:23 AM)
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#357914 - 03/28/11 10:47 AM Re: Not All Nonsurvivors Want to Avoid Understanding. [Re: Disappointed]
bluejay Offline


Registered: 02/23/11
Posts: 51
Thanks for saying this, if the people in my life were more like you it would be easier taking the chance on letting them in. Then again, if I never take the chance, how will I ever learn to trust anyone? I know that I can't keep it all to myself anymore because it's killing me. So what's worse for a non-survivor, watching a friend who you think of as perfect throw everything away and not understand why? Or knowing the truth and having the dynamics of the relationship change entirely because of it?


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#357926 - 03/28/11 02:46 PM Re: Not All Nonsurvivors Want to Avoid Understanding. [Re: bluejay]
Disappointed Offline


Registered: 08/11/09
Posts: 540
Loc: U.S.A.
Well, I think this is a false choice. Because I don't think knowing the truth will inevitably mean the dynamics of the relationship will change.

I always remember what my friend did: He told me in an off hand way about the least traumatic of his experience. "I had a baby sitter, she was in her late teens, and for a couple of years, she had me XXX for her. Then my brother walked in the room, and found out, and ran and told Mom. So, the sitter was fired, I was put in therapy, and now I have this fetish."

Very matter of fact, not heavy at all. As I grew to know him, he told me more. I found this initial light immersion very helpful. Why? First, he didn't express anger or sorrow. Was matter of fact. So, at first, I didn't have to think about his reaction or comforting him. Just for me to get used to this new idea of CSA. Later, as I have gotten to know him, I've been more interested and concerned about all that happened and what kind of toll it has taken on him. For me, and just like the ladies write in the dating book, "The Rules," reveal graudally.

Anyway, me knowing hasn't had an effect. Him knowing I know is what has had the effect.

Really. I think he's great. But he gets nervous around me, afraid his mask will slip. Sometimes he thinks I want to dominate him when we're together, when I have zero interest in that.

Does this help???
Or am I just babbling???
D.

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#357927 - 03/28/11 03:04 PM Re: Not All Nonsurvivors Want to Avoid Understanding. [Re: bluejay]
TwoStep Offline


Registered: 01/02/11
Posts: 31
Disappointed, your point is well taken, and I think you touch on the important point that there is a universal truth that not everyone is equipped to deal with everything -- and this could apply to just about anything.

For example, my bf in addition to being a csa survivor is also a cancer survivor. He told me this very early on, I think before we started dating. I shared this with one of my close girlfriends, and she immediately said she couldn't deal with that and would not be with someone based on that alone. She is one of the most caring and goodhearted people I know - but that's a dealbreaker for her.

I don't, of course, share my bf's csa story because that's not my story to share. He disclosed to me very early on -- we hadn't even gone out on a date yet I think, we were getting to know each other -- and when he told me I sort of think I might have been the first one who said to him that I was sorry he was abused. I'll never forget the look on his face when I said that, I mean, I was surprised that he seemed surprised. I am grateful he felt safe enough to disclose to me.

That said, like you, I had NO clue what it actually meant. As time went on and we had problems I didn't understand, I finally put 2 and 2 together and, well, 2+2 does equal 4. And, fortunately, my research landed me here. And, thank God, he is committed to working through the issues. (I do not expect, however, that he will ever disclose to very many people. I hope someday he will be on this site, but I don't know.)

I didn't "get it" right away. I had to get to know him, become his friend, realize his issues with trust (among other things), fall in love with him and be in a relationship before I had a clue what the abuse meant for his psyche (and our relationship). It's like anything -- if you aren't invested, you don't think too hard about it. I had never given csa a thought other than knowing it happened and thinking it was tragic. I didn't realize the effects until I had to because the man I love feels them every day.

It's a rollercoaster sometimes. I am so not perfect and I screw up although I try not to. I have my own issues to deal with on top of his (like we all do). If I screw up, he retreats, but because he does know deep down he can trust me (because of our history), he understands that I am not untrustworthy, just having a bad day and we re-establish. The hard part is meeting your own needs while trying to understand his, and there are many threads about that. That's a tough one, but I don't want to digress.

There's no easy answer, and the dynamics can change quickly. Sometimes you will break an egg. Best not to guess, though. Sometimes he will want space, sometimes not.

So, bluejay, to answer your question -- had he not disclosed, our relationship would have most likely ended given issues we had. (They weren't issues such as infidelity or porn addiction - those, frankly, would be dealbreakers for me.) The dynamics changed our relationship entirely, that's for sure. But if I didn't know, if I hadn't muddled through to the understanding that I did, if he wasn't readily willing to work on it, he and I wouldn't be a "we" today.

That's my perspective for what it's worth. It's hard to find someone to trust. I have trusted too many people not worthy of my trust, and don't so much anymore myself. I am pretty careful now.


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#357983 - 03/29/11 06:33 AM Re: Not All Nonsurvivors Want to Avoid Understanding. [Re: TwoStep]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1928
Loc: durham, north england
It actually sounds to me as if there are a number of different matters here which people are putting together but which aren't the same thing.

1: society's ideas about abuse generally, stuff in the media, in academic works etc etc.

It is true that yes, the ideas need to be out there, but it is also true that because! society's thoughts on male victims of abuse are generally negative, telling someone without an emotional investment, who doesn't know you as a person could be difficult.

One useful litle lie I've practiced in the past is "I've had to do some research and found that"

This lets me talk about male abuse generally, even mention some general circumstances and people's reactions and that there is a support site out there, without relating it to me at all.

As a Phd student, it's not unreasonable that I research, so the lie is very convincing.

I would use this line in any conversation about abuse generally, ---- heck I even once used it with a taxi driver who's brother was a counseler at Newcastle's Sa support center.

It's a way of deseminating only the information and idea and thus doing a bit to change social atitudes and, as you said disappointed, get the idea that yes men can be abused, it has long lasting effects, and even that women can be abusers, out there into the public consciousness more than it is.

2: disclosing some degree of information To friends.

Myself, I have a sort of graded system of disclosure which i use going from "I've been unwell and taking antidepressants" right up to full detail.

Generally the amount of detail someone gets depends entirely upon the circumstances, but only two people outside this site have ever had the full story, neither of whome is an abuse surviver, but both of whome are very close friends, --- -probably as close as brother and sister to me.

Part of this is that I actually find talking about it emotionally difficult, sinse I find myself going completely cold and distant about it and speaking as though I'm a machine, ---- which was pretty much my experience during what happened anyway.

I've never interestingly enough fully disclosed all the gorey details to my family, though certainly my mum has a pretty good idea simply from my own reactions, but other than practical matters such as getting appointments with a doctor to fix medication we don't tend to have long conversations about the subject of abuse generally.

I think I would be careful whome I tell, especially because I have a tendency in myself to want to tell people as an excuse.

Interestingly enough, one friend of mine who I have a very respectful relationship with where we both keep distance from each other actually didn't want to know but not for the reason you'd expect.

At one point during our degrees she shared a very personal secret with me about herself, something which, like being an abuse surviver most people do not understand and are totally mistaken about, but she felt she needed someone to talk to and thought (rightly as it turned out), that I'd not react unreasonably.

I thus felt something of an obligation towards her because she'd trusted me with some truth about herself, but when I offered to tell her precisely the reason why she asked me not to, sinse her idea of me, her impression of who I am and my relation to her would not survive that sort of disclosure.

That actually brings me on to

3: keeping up appearences.

I'm fairly amazed sometimes that people's impression of me is completely at odds with my impression of myself. One thing I find utterly strange, is that people, ---- even pople I've just met, tend to feel an urge to tell me their problems.

i have no idea why this is, but frequently I'll find myself being the recipient of some disclosure or other from someone else.

I suppose though this is because I've become used to projecting an ora of emotional and general compitance, in fact my um frequently accuses me of appearing too! self sufficient.

Certainly though this is often not what I'm feeling, in fact I'm frequently amazed that people can't pick up how I'm feeling a mile off, ---- heck, I can often do it with others, why can't they do it with me?

Certainly though for me there's no appearence to break in this case, and usually by the time I'd considder telling someone even that I've been unwell, they'd possibly kno more about how I'm feeling anyway.


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#358007 - 03/29/11 10:20 AM Re: Not All Nonsurvivors Want to Avoid Understanding. [Re: dark empathy]
Disappointed Offline


Registered: 08/11/09
Posts: 540
Loc: U.S.A.
Yes, D.E.!!!! I LUV the "I've had to do some research" line!!

Exactly part of what I was trying to say, and didn't.

Yes, you guys often appear very competent to us who are looking at you.

What is a UM?

D.

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Female.

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#358010 - 03/29/11 11:00 AM Re: Not All Nonsurvivors Want to Avoid Understanding. [Re: Disappointed]
fhorns Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/10/02
Posts: 613
Ladies,

Thank you for discussing this openly. Since I am in this community, I hear more than I've ever experienced, but when searching for empathy, rejection is devastating. Thank you, Disappointed, for sharing the "definitely not obvious". Your words are valuable here.

Alfred


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#358085 - 03/30/11 11:14 AM Re: Not All Nonsurvivors Want to Avoid Understanding. [Re: fhorns]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1928
Loc: durham, north england
A um is what happense when I try to write the word "mum" and am typing too fast ;d.

As to what sort of thing it might be, um, I don't know, ;D.

To an extent I know my ora of compitants is something I try to project, while I know another part of it is simply experience.

My mum told me yesterday when discussng mental age, that though part of me is very much stil 14, other parts of me are more like 40, despite the fact that at 28 I'm sonewhere in the middle of both of those.


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#358310 - 04/01/11 02:05 PM Re: Not All Nonsurvivors Want to Avoid Understanding. [Re: dark empathy]
Castle Offline


Registered: 10/03/09
Posts: 727
Loc: NJ
this caught my attention....... "And another said, "They should get over it and move on."

could you ask this friend if she would feel the same and say the same to a female rape victim or a girl whom was abused as a child?

Thanks, I'd be interested in her response.

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My posts can self destruct at any time..read them while you can.

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#358315 - 04/01/11 03:18 PM Re: Not All Nonsurvivors Want to Avoid Understanding. [Re: Castle]
Disappointed Offline


Registered: 08/11/09
Posts: 540
Loc: U.S.A.
She was expressly closed to considering new information. I suggested she come to this site and just read. She didn't want to do anything of the sort.

I'll ask her when I see her next, which will be a few weeks because of a project on my house right now.



Edited by Disappointed (04/01/11 03:24 PM)
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