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#359848 - 04/16/11 05:49 AM memory and reliability (might be triggering)
well-intended Offline


Registered: 04/15/11
Posts: 124
Loc: Belgium
At least, I find these issues triggering. The thought that my memory might not be reliable is a huge paranoia feeder, much more than recalling the abuse itself. It fills me with a feeling of powerlessness, not about the past but about the present. That's really awful, and I have verged into insanity more than once as a result.

But good intentions imply I should care about the truth, and should therefore consider the possibility my memory isn't what it feels it is, until proven otherwise. The scientific studies I encountered during my education certainly suggests memory isn't that reliable. And the wikipedia article on False Memory Syndrome seems to have decent face validity. I can't see anything wrong with it at first glance.

Can I ask you male survivors: how do know for sure your memory tells the truth?


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#359862 - 04/16/11 11:45 AM Re: memory and reliability (might be triggering) [Re: well-intended]
risingagain Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/09/10
Posts: 595
Loc: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Hi there,

I have struggled with this a lot. I had no memory of the sexual abuse until it gradually began to emerge, in short vignettes, as if through a fog. (very similar to the movie, The Butterfly Effect)

First, PTSD and traumatic dissociation/amnesia are well documented and there are many examples. This phenomenon appears to be accepted in clinical circles, and was understood in the context of war veterans who experienced later flashbacks and memory recovery of traumatic events they experienced as a soldier.

So if you've forgotten to survive and then you remember, it's OK, forgive yourself. The body has a process of bringing things up when we are ready.

My memories appeared first as nightmares and the clear sense that I was sexually abused but without any indication of how or by whom. I woke up in the middle of a scream one night and found myself yelling in bed.

Later, I experienced waking flashbacks where I would have a brief image, such as the image of a man naked in the shower smiling at me. At first, I did not know who the man was. He seemed to be like a clown. He reminded me of the clown in the movie IT. Smiling and sinister.

I did not recognize the man at first but I recognized the place. It was the downstairs bathroom where I grew up. That was my first clue as to where it happened and who did it. I then had more sense memories, such as the feeling of the cold basement floor as I was lying on it tied up. It was blue. I had flashes where my legs would involuntarily thrash / kick response and the feeling was of trying to run. My body felt restrained and tied up.

I had a striking visual flash one day of blood running down my leg, accompanied by a sick searing pain in my ass. I could feel it as if I was actually reliving it.

I heard, as if in the distance, the screams and cries of my little boy as he was betrayed.

Later I saw the face in flashbacks. It was if that part had been completely blocked and now it was more available. It was my dad. This was confirmed by the place memories (where it happened). The whole time I thought I was going crazy, as my emotions fought desperately to keep it locked up tight, to deny. I asked my psychologist about the possibility I was paranoid or schizophrenic. She saw no evidence of that, instead affirming that what I was experiencing was classic PTSD / trauma recovery.

I have always had a fantasy about being tied up and raped. I have partially enacted that fantasy with other men. I choose guys who will use and abandon me. That is my 'wiring'.

There is much more I could say..

But the succinct answer to your question is, you know because you

1) trust yourself
2) are ready and WANT to remember and face WHATEVER it may be... are willing to accept that it may or may not be abuse. recognize your denial.
3) when you flashback, your body responds - all senses are involved - touch taste hearing sight and smell - memories where you reexperience all of these
4) your memories will probably be fragmented, that's OK
5) your memories will start to connect with people, places and events in your life
6) your behaviors will match with that of a trauma survivor - for example, abandonment issues, strange fantasies and fetishes, isolation, difficulty trusting, little things that set you off (being touched, for example).

With all of these facets, it would be difficult to fabricate (even if I wanted to, and why would I want to do that?) I might be able to have a 'false memory', but when the body is talking, when everything in life lines up to give me the answer, I had to gradually accept it.

I could have denied it. I think at first it's good to consider other possible explanations. I did that and gradually it settled for me what happened.

Hope this helps,
Jan


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#359867 - 04/16/11 01:00 PM Re: memory and reliability (might be triggering) [Re: risingagain]
petercorbett Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/27/08
Posts: 2433
Loc: TEXAS
Hi, my brothers.

It is said in the book Victims No Longer, by Mike Lew, that those memories will come to the surface when our mind thinks that we are ready to handle them.

For some of us, it comes out all at once, and others in bits & pieces.

If your memory thinks that there was sexual abuse, then you should consider it true. No matter if the details are incomplete or not.

I had quite a few flashbacks, dreams, etc. I was treated for deep psychological depression, as I was ready to end all the pain & confusion. I was standing at the gate of hell, ready, willing & able to cross over that line. However my inner child intervened into my mind to get help. I did & was locked up under a suicide watch for a weekend.

I already has numerous therapy sessions. I had one weekend of recovery emotionally exhausting retreats behind me & another I was leaving for a week after I was released from the mental facility.

At each of those therapy sessions, i learned something more about myself. In fact I have learned more about myself in these last 2 1/2 years than I ever knew about myself in my previous 69 years.

I have been in a 12 week PTSD group therapy group. There you are challenged on your memory & beliefs about different stages of your abuse.

As you progress through your recovery therapy those vague memories will become more clear to you. And you will learn how to deal with them.

It isn't going to be easy. It isn't going to be painless. It will be both emotionally & physically exhausting. It will consume a lot of your time & energy.

But, in the end you will become one with that little boy, a little boy who was just looking for someone to love & care for him. But found it being given to him in a terrible way in the name of love & caring.

You. will finally find you. Who you are. What you are.

You will be amazed at his courage & survival skills, as he is you.
I hope that this might be of some help to you, or even if it makes any sense to you.
Heal well, my brother, well_intended, heal well, you are on your way.

"I will take that lost boys hand, and I will lead him from the depths of darkness, into the sunshine, forever into eternity." As he is me.

Pete..Irishmoose.

_________________________
Working Boys' Home 10-14 yrs old, grades 5-8. 1949-1953
____________________________________________________________
A very humble alumni of the WOR Dahlonega, GA.
May 15-17 2009, Alta, Sep. 2009. Sequoia, 2010.
Hope Springs, 2010.


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#359887 - 04/16/11 04:22 PM Re: memory and reliability (might be triggering) [Re: petercorbett]
learning2remember Offline
Member

Registered: 10/21/03
Posts: 250
Loc: Europe
As my name indicates, the question of memory has been huge for me. As I have struggled for years wondering about the reliability of my memory, there is really a lot I would have to say, and I will try to get it down. It is not as simple a subject as I used to think.

What I would say, though, is trust your memory. As you do that, memories may seem to change, but don't let that alarm you and don't think it discredits your story. Trust yourself, believe yourself.

There is one thing regarding my memories that I wish I had not done:

There is a black out in one of my memories. I remembered fairly clearly up to a point, and then nothing. Of course, (I say "of course" now), what happened next--the blacked out bit--was what I was most eager to know. (Specifically, I wanted to know if his penis entered my mouth, but the memory stopped just as he was approaching me.)

I decided to imagine a number of scenarios of what happened next, figuring that when I hit the right image it would "click."

In hindsight, I think this was a distraction from dealing with the more important issues of how it all effects me today. Also, I wanted so badly to know what happened that I wanted something to click, and then I few days later I would think maybe that wasn't it after all. The whole trial ended up confusing me.

I now believe that it is enough just to trust whatever memories we have, without worrying about the parts we don't remember, and without worrying about credibility if the memories seem to change.

_________________________
"This is not my shame, this is their shame." Mona Eltahawy

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#359902 - 04/16/11 06:04 PM Re: memory and reliability (might be triggering) [Re: risingagain]
well-intended Offline


Registered: 04/15/11
Posts: 124
Loc: Belgium
Hi risingagain,

Those are terrible flashbacks. I've gone through emotional hell as well, recalling the emotional impact of certain events, but geez, seeing Pennywise? Damn..

To answer your question about why one would fabricate these memories: it's a guilt discharge. The blame for weaknesses or desires to perpetrate, that might have been previously directed towards the self, gets redirected towards an external source. Scapegoating. Just like PTSD, it's a very real and documented phenomenon.

You might have noticed by now, I don't really trust myself anymore.

However, I agree with your conclusion. I think it's about gradual settlement. Slowly letting scenario's sink in, and checking whether all the different parts of your life still make sense. (I've once come to a point I started looking for hidden camera's in my room, trying to uncover some Truman Show shenanigans. The scenario I was contemplating clearly didn't fit within reality. smile )

Thanks.


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#359904 - 04/16/11 06:15 PM Re: memory and reliability (might be triggering) [Re: petercorbett]
well-intended Offline


Registered: 04/15/11
Posts: 124
Loc: Belgium
Oh yes, connecting with the little boy inside. I like it when that happens. Though I have often trouble finding him.

And indeed, recovering is costly. Nowadays people tend to see me as a lazy person. I on the other hand feel like I'm full-time employed. Every additional task, every bit of "real work" feels like doing overtime. So few people understand..

Thanks for sharing a part of your story, Pete.


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#359905 - 04/16/11 06:30 PM Re: memory and reliability (might be triggering) [Re: well-intended]
risingagain Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/09/10
Posts: 595
Loc: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Hey well-intended,

Originally Posted By: well-intended
Hi risingagain,

To answer your question about why one would fabricate these memories: it's a guilt discharge. The blame for weaknesses or desires to perpetrate, that might have been previously directed towards the self, gets redirected towards an external source. Scapegoating. Just like PTSD, it's a very real and documented phenomenon.



The desire to perpetrate doesn't come from nowhere. Perpetration is a way of taking out pain, shame, and loss. It is an improper expression of suffering. The fact that you own your perpetrator says a lot about your integrity. But don't forget that you learned this from somewhere.

The way you say it sounds a lot like self blame. You can blame yourself, but do you really think you were born a perpetrator? Look inside yourself closely and you will see.

Blessings.


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#359906 - 04/16/11 06:32 PM Re: memory and reliability (might be triggering) [Re: risingagain]
risingagain Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/09/10
Posts: 595
Loc: Vancouver, BC, Canada
PS I also didn't trust myself. My family system has been teaching me to doubt my truth, my sanity, and my reality for a long time.

That also didn't come from nowhere.

Basically my investigation lead me to a choice:

1) I am a crazy monster who has nothing better to do than to blame his family

2) I am a wounded man who suffered abuse and has done many things to survive

My soul knows the truth.

I will not be swindled again.

Reading your messages it is tempting to doubt. You remind me of me.


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#359908 - 04/16/11 06:34 PM Re: memory and reliability (might be triggering) [Re: risingagain]
risingagain Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/09/10
Posts: 595
Loc: Vancouver, BC, Canada
PS Pennywise lives in me too.

I keep him in front of me.


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#359910 - 04/16/11 06:37 PM Re: memory and reliability (might be triggering) [Re: learning2remember]
well-intended Offline


Registered: 04/15/11
Posts: 124
Loc: Belgium
Hi learning2remember,

The problem is that if I had decided to trust my memory in another phase of my life, I would have ended up becoming a perpetrator. My mind presented me the illusion that sex with children could be an OK thing. Intellectual doubt has saved me from committing atrocities, good intentions alone were not enough. I'm sorry, but I can't trust something that has been misleading to me to such extent. I'm determined to keep leaps of faith to an absolute minimum. I'm even trying to become susceptible to religion without relying on faith. Go figure! smile

I agree that forcing memory is a bad idea, only leading to confusion. I've got one memory with a sudden, perhaps suspicious end as well. It's so easy to get lost in the labyrinth of possibilities the conscious mind can dream up. So, at least for the time being, I have to live with the "cliffhanger", annoying as it is.

Thanks for your input.


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#359911 - 04/16/11 06:44 PM Re: memory and reliability (might be triggering) [Re: risingagain]
risingagain Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/09/10
Posts: 595
Loc: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Big lies about me and the real truth behind them

I am not a bad man. I am a good man who is human.
I am not a perpetrator, but I have the potential to perpetrate, as we all do.
I am not a powerless man. I am a powerful man whose actions and inactions have consequences.
I am not an irresponsible man. I am responsible for what happens in my house. My parents were responsible for what happened in their house (I WAS THE CHILD, THEY WERE THE PARENTS), but they deny their responsibility and use blame.
I am not always a healthy man, but I trust my inner wisdom. It leads me to health.
I am not a liar. I have lied, but I am most often an honest man.
I am not insane. I know myself, and am able to perceive things around me with clarity.
I am not vindictive. Although I am angry as hell for what happened, I choose to sit in the anger and find purpose and compassion.
I am not a pedophile. I enjoy sex with adult men.
I am not sexually healthy. I fantasize about being raped and I choose / am drawn to men who use and abandon me. This is gradually changing as I inquire into what LOVE truly is.
I am not a loner anymore. I have a lot of insight into people and am funny and charismatic. Being in teams and groups is very healing for me.
I am not a disgusting man. I am a child of God and a beautiful man who wants to do good for myself and others.
I am not a selfish man. I do take care of myself. I have a big heart.
I have been lied to a lot. My heart knows it.

I hope some of my truth has found resonance in you.


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#359913 - 04/16/11 06:49 PM Re: memory and reliability (might be triggering) [Re: risingagain]
well-intended Offline


Registered: 04/15/11
Posts: 124
Loc: Belgium
No, I don't think I am a born perpetrator. But I'm glad I based this conclusion on study and careful consideration, not purely on emotional consideration. I don't trust my emotions.

Don't get me wrong: if you have based the conclusion on looking closely within yourself, then I have nothing but envy for you. You have reached the same conclusion as I have, but in a seemingly far less time consuming manner. smile

To each his own, I guess.


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#359915 - 04/16/11 06:51 PM Re: memory and reliability (might be triggering) [Re: risingagain]
well-intended Offline


Registered: 04/15/11
Posts: 124
Loc: Belgium
They're excellent guards, aren't they?


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#359919 - 04/16/11 06:55 PM Re: memory and reliability (might be triggering) [Re: well-intended]
risingagain Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/09/10
Posts: 595
Loc: Vancouver, BC, Canada
I feel envious when I see something in myself that I haven't owned. I have it too, I just haven't owned it yet.

It's not helpful for me to envy another. It's a sign post that tells me what I need to do.

smile

You are a courageous person, I can tell by the way you write.

Emotions are an INCREDIBLE guide. Doesn't mean they are all healthy to act on, but to OBSERVE, priceless!

Have you read Molecules of Emotion by Candace Pert? From a scientific point of view, it's awesome. She's a famous neuroscientist who discovered the receptors for Endorphin while studying opiates.

Anyway, I recommend that book if you are doubting the value and the truth-telling of your emotions. Did you know that even animals without brains have emotions? Some single-celled organisms have receptors for neuropeptides which are chemicals that carry emotion.

So from an evolutionary point of view, emotions appear to be ESSENTIAL to our survival.

Ignore 'em at your peril bro!!!!!!!!!!!

:P

Have fun stay well keep diving in.


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#359920 - 04/16/11 06:56 PM Re: memory and reliability (might be triggering) [Re: risingagain]
well-intended Offline


Registered: 04/15/11
Posts: 124
Loc: Belgium
Yes, it has. Except for the sex and love bits. And I guess I'm still a loner.


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#359921 - 04/16/11 06:58 PM Re: memory and reliability (might be triggering) [Re: risingagain]
risingagain Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/09/10
Posts: 595
Loc: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Sorry

the first line should read

"I feel envious when I see something in a person and I haven't owned that for myself."


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#359922 - 04/16/11 06:58 PM Re: memory and reliability (might be triggering) [Re: risingagain]
risingagain Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/09/10
Posts: 595
Loc: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Well-Intended, do you want to go on the chat? You sound like a fascinating person that I would like to get to know.


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#359925 - 04/16/11 07:11 PM Re: memory and reliability (might be triggering) [Re: risingagain]
well-intended Offline


Registered: 04/15/11
Posts: 124
Loc: Belgium
That's very flattering, and I appreciate it very much.

But I'm not in a very good place right now, and I'm enjoying the fact I can hide this behind non-real time behavior. I've been hurt fairly recently in a major way (I might post about it later), and I'm not ready to open up again to other people. Not at all. Courageous as I might appear sometimes, I gonna opt for weaseling out on this one. I hope you understand. No, I'm sure you understand.


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#359926 - 04/16/11 07:12 PM Re: memory and reliability (might be triggering) [Re: well-intended]
risingagain Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/09/10
Posts: 595
Loc: Vancouver, BC, Canada
I'm not flattering you I'm being honest man.

I understand! I isolate sometimes too.

Take care brother. Feel free to PM me anytime.


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#359947 - 04/17/11 12:10 AM Re: memory and reliability (might be triggering) [Re: well-intended]
Napoleon Offline


Registered: 04/06/11
Posts: 166
Loc: Utah
False memory syndrome = post recall denial.

There is no question as to the realness of memories. At first it was felling the felling of being held down. These evolved as others have already described in great detail, only its my story. I knew that that the initial memories where not full.

When the real memories came through, I realized that the rest where the nightmares my I had as a child as a result of what had happened. I still remember the night mares of the “school lunch box full of Polaroid’s.” Even as an adult I had these night mares. Most importantly I had no idea why a school lunch box full of pictures should frighten me, I do now. In the end the full memories came through, there can be no question in mind as to the actuality of what happened. There were false memories (night mares) laid over the top of real memories, and the false memories I always knew to be “false.” The false memories changed over time. I was very carful not to try to put events together. Eventually they came together.

I think false memory syndrome is when the mind re-buries real memories. Its weird as an adult I had memories that led me to believe my friend had been abused but didn’t remember that I was also abused. I remember remembering for a philologist once, because she brought it to the surface. Then forgetting again because again it was too traumatic. Some time latter I assaulted a pedophile and they came back over time. AT times there where gaps, the most tramatic cam back last. They are now complete and mesh very well. I am fairly sure I am through them all, even the part I may have been better off without. I am only missing one thing, the name of the girl who was also involved.

I remember at one point trying to consciously suppress them, that is trying to forget, because I could not deal with it. It worked to some extent, however I learned it is import to work thought them no matter how traumatic they are because, the “forgetting” comes with symptoms that are worse than the “remembering.” What was once amnesic can be amnesic again. In other words, False memory syndrome = post recall denial.

Originally Posted By: well-intended
My mind presented me the illusion that sex with children could be an OK thing.


Do not forget -- in your case the symptoms are your pedophilia. – Do not forget, it is more important than you realize that you work through your abuse, as it very likely what made you a pedophile, and working through it is “part” of your cure.

_________________________
“Your only limit within reason, is the one that you set up in your own mind.” Napoleon Hill, The Law of Success, 1925.

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#359948 - 04/17/11 12:11 AM Re: memory and reliability (might be triggering) [Re: well-intended]
Neverquit Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/26/10
Posts: 147
Loc: Ohio
Ive struggled with this.. but in short I have been diagnosed with PTSD and had really bad dissociative disorder (especially in high school). I got it from somewhere, right? Also, have have memories to support my memories and have even witnessed my mom do some fk'd up things... and I catching myself question the validity of my these memories too! Even if they happened fairly recently. Its more like, "I just cant believe ..."

I think its normal to be in disbelief that something so horrific could have happened to me, so when I question my memories I remind myself its the abuse talking. I trust my inner knowing.

~Grant

_________________________
There is always hope

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#359958 - 04/17/11 01:02 AM Re: memory and reliability (might be triggering) [Re: well-intended]
EGL Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 7821
Interesting topic. I've never questioned my actual memories, I guess they are just so clear to me. I can remember such minute details about things related to the CSA, I guess it made a pretty permanent record. The things I've had trouble with is organizing things into time specific periods. For example, with the last abuser I had initially always thought I was 14 at the time, but later came to realize that I was 16 due to other pieces that I put together. That kind of rattled me at the time, but I'm glad I gained that bit of clarity.

_________________________
Eddie

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#359960 - 04/17/11 01:24 AM Re: memory and reliability (might be triggering) [Re: Neverquit]
risingagain Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/09/10
Posts: 595
Loc: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Thank you so much to all who are posting here. Neverquit, Napoleon, and well-intended for posting originally... this stuff is not easy , it's really tough to see clearly when so many emotions are involved.

One thing I like to say is, the evidence is in me. To this day, My body is a crime scene. Shit happened that left its mark. If nothing happened, there would be no wake of stuff. When the denying and blaming messages my parents told me during my confrontation with them EXACTLY matches with the messages I told myself (that I wrote about here:

http://malesurvivor.org/board/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=356404#Post356404)

and the smile and laugh my dad did while I was telling him I remembered him raping me, and him covering his mouth with his hand as he's smiling... exactly matches my image of the sinister clown hiding behind a happy smile....

what doubt can be left when everything has lined up.

A happy childhood does not leave bloody stains. All the evidence I need is in my behaviors, my body sensations, my memories (visual, sense, flashbacks), my reactions, my PTSD, my coping patterns, my fetishes, and the obvious BLAME that my parents have tried to put on me, with my mom even calling me a pedophile twice.

I mean, when I want to deny it because it's so difficult to comprehend how parents could DO THAT, because I love my parents, because I don't want to loose my parents, etc etc.. when I go to that place of self-blame, I only need to say hey... are any of these things indicative of a healthy childhood? did my parents respond like loving parents? do i behave like a survivor or do i behave like the 'bad boy' with flawless parents that my parents want me to believe?

My parents are middle-class highly smart highly educated people. My mom is a physicist who holds patents on liquid crystal displays and my dad was an aerospace engineer. Their 'picture perfect' family albums and quiet but good family image has always been something they put a lot of polish on. But it is the polish that hides the deeper darker secret of what went on in that basement, something that has left its stain on me 25 years after the bloody deeds were perpetrated on me.

The facade of the good suburban family is what my predators feed on. They invent props to displace blame and responsibility, while warping the self-esteem and image of their son to the point where I believed all that... just to survive.

It is not only my story, it's the story of countless others who suffer in silence in 'well-to-do' neighbourhoods filled with happy oblivious neighbours thinking 'that-sort-of-thing-can't-happen-here' thoughts. Picture-perfect.

And those that threaten the brittle facade are called drug addicts, deviants, and low-lifes who couldn't get their lives together and decided to join a club crusade to blame their parents for their problems. They are called unreliable flakes with false memories, dangerous psychotics who invent stories to terrorize innocent parents. In a bizarre attempt to twist time and space, they are called all the things that their parents in fact were. They are made out to be malevolent when they were only children at the time of their abuse.

I know my childhood basement very well. The rope ladder, the swings, the places where I was tied and raped. Not all the details are present for me. How could they be, when I shut my eyes to try so hard to make it go away. Thinking it was just me, so full of denial just so I could survive because, I had to live with my mother and father until I was 18. No sheriff came to rescue me. No one would have believed or thought it was happening there. Years later, with all my self work and confidence, some I've told still deny it, still laugh and call me names. They alternate between denying it ever happened and telling me to get over it. How amusing, considering I am sitting right in the middle of it, and they are dancing around like children, frightened by what they see in the mirror I show them.

This will never go away until people acknowledge the dark side of human nature, and that anyone, ANYONE is capable of such terrible crimes. Myself included.

But there is another truth, beyond the darkness, that shines brightly and gives me hope. It is the truth of happiness, of opportunity, and of being given a chance that all children deserve. I deserve it too. And I believe that God is giving me that chance now.


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