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#372710 - 10/18/11 02:07 AM maybe my son is a male survivor
indygal Offline
Member

Registered: 06/22/06
Posts: 439
Hello everyone,

I'm a member here but haven't posted in some time. I came here originally due to a relationship I was in with a guy who turned out to be a survivor. I learned a lot from that and sometimes felt that perhaps, in a way that none of us can truly understand, I was meant to learn about csa through him because of my son.

My son and I have been estranged for nearly 2 decades and I've never learned why. He cut off all contact about 2 years after moving away to attend college. After that he became very hostile and even aggressive towards me, he even struck me once. It was all quite shocking because as I said, there was never a particular incident that I could point to and say "that was it."

In fact, my son was the kid everyone told me they wanted their kid to be like. I thought we had a great relationship; I urged him to always come to me, to talk about anything and everything. I raised him to believe in himself, to count his blessings, to just be the best he could no matter what. Of course I wasn't the perfect mom, mistakes were certainly made but looking back I've made peace with the fact that whatever must have happened, I did the best I could.

But something must have happened of course, something I don't really know about. I raised him mostly on my own, divorcing his father when our son was only 4. His father was physically abusive towards me, as was my second husband but I divorced him also. I learned to take better care of myself, and domestic violence became part of my history, not my present. I put myself through college and even now am in grad school.

My son has even changed his last name. I recall reading this is common among survivors, or at least not unusual. He has communicated only very rarely and has let me know he has told people that I am dead. I lived in NYC during 9/11 and a year or so afterwards we exchanged emails, briefly, and he said he had looked and hoped I had died in the collapse of the WTC. wow - who thinks that about anyone, let alone their mother?

Then when I was in the relationship with the survivor that brought me to MS, I read the stories on here, especially the ones that some wrote about mothers. Some were abused by them (which isn't my case, of course) but others wrote how they didn't understand how their mothers didn't protect them. I kept thinking, wow, is that what happened? was he a victim and blamed me for not protecting him? or worse, did he think I knew and did nothing??

recently my son has resurfaced and visited my family who live out of state (he had no prior contact with any of us). He told them he wants to reconcile with me and then I received a letter from him. It's in longhand, not typed (he's a computer professional). He said he wants to reconcile but we must only correspond by mail and that I must "respect his boundaries" which to me, again, sounds like a BIG clue as to him being a survivor.

He didn't even address me as "mom" or "mother" he just started writing.

I've yet to respond because quite frankly, I don't know what to say. I feel manipulated and used. He's abandoned me for so many years. I feel his pain and want to help but honestly, I almost think we can't do this alone. That we should have a moderator/therapist in there. Maybe he has one - but how can I mention that? what if he doesn't and takes offense?

I'm fairly certain he is a survivor but how/should I mention this? If he's never told me before, why would he now? as I said, I'd always encouraged him before to tell me everything, but who knows, maybe he was threatened, it could have been for any reason he didn't.

please help. whatever advice you can offer.

_________________________
my avatar is one of the Battle Angel characters, fighting the good fight.

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#372728 - 10/18/11 10:48 AM Re: maybe my son is a male survivor [Re: indygal]
Sailor John Offline


Registered: 10/04/11
Posts: 310
Loc: Newfoundland & Labrador
I feel very deeply for you. I was abused as a young teenager 42 years ago and have only recently started theraphy.

The fact that he has started to renew his family contacts is a sign that he may be taking his first steps towards admitting to being trautized in some way. He has to be ready to start the threapy himself. Do not push him and just as importantly, you will also have to look after yourself to be able to help him when he is ready.

I would suggest that you communicate with him how he wants as quickly as you are able to get your thoughts together. He probably has a great deal of fear right now dreading that you will not answer his letter. This will hurt immensely.

I had the same fear and shame when I first told my family about my abuse. In fact, I told the first two by E-mail. We are afraid of being hurt again.

_________________________
I will mourn the teenager I never was and strive to make that dot of light way out in the far reaches of the end of the tunnel turn into a bright sun.

WE ARE NOT VICTIMS. WE ARE THE SURVIVORS!!!

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#372770 - 10/18/11 09:46 PM Re: maybe my son is a male survivor [Re: Sailor John]
indygal Offline
Member

Registered: 06/22/06
Posts: 439
thank you Sailor John for your kind words. They mean a great deal.

I want very much to answer but am torn about what to say.

Should I let him know I suspect abuse? or even come out and ask and let him know that if it's true, I'm there to support him? or should I dodge it altogether (at least for now) and speak about nothing at all?

I fear saying too much (he'll bolt) or too little (he'll think I'm being too nonchalant, perhaps even perceive it as uncaring?).

What can I say that can make him feel safe?

_________________________
my avatar is one of the Battle Angel characters, fighting the good fight.

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#372777 - 10/19/11 12:02 AM Re: maybe my son is a male survivor [Re: indygal]
pufferfish Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6875
Loc: USA
Adopt a posture of great humility. Inform him that you are terribly sorry that things didn't work out better (whatever). Tell him that you're very sorry about his dad, and you're not sure that he was a very good dad anyway, but that you're very sorry about the woundedness he experienced at such a tender age due to the separation and (whatever). Tell him that you will refrain from anger in anything he says. Tell him that you're very sorry you weren't a very good mom, and that you're sorry you weren't there for him at crucial moments when he needed you. Tell him that you're sorry you put your education and career above his psychological well-being. Tell him that you feel brokenness because of his silence.

Puffer (puffing!)


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#372810 - 10/19/11 12:21 PM Re: maybe my son is a male survivor [Re: pufferfish]
Disappointed Offline


Registered: 08/11/09
Posts: 540
Loc: U.S.A.
Puffer,

I LOVE your suggestions!!!

Love them!

Wish my friend's Mom would say these things to him!

Woman was too busy making money to notice her 6 year old was off the reservation!

D.

_________________________
Female.

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#372853 - 10/19/11 08:33 PM Re: maybe my son is a male survivor [Re: pufferfish]
indygal Offline
Member

Registered: 06/22/06
Posts: 439
Originally Posted By: pufferfish
Adopt a posture of great humility. Inform him that you are terribly sorry that things didn't work out better (whatever). Tell him that you're very sorry about his dad, and you're not sure that he was a very good dad anyway, but that you're very sorry about the woundedness he experienced at such a tender age due to the separation and (whatever). Tell him that you will refrain from anger in anything he says. Tell him that you're very sorry you weren't a very good mom, and that you're sorry you weren't there for him at crucial moments when he needed you. Tell him that you're sorry you put your education and career above his psychological well-being. Tell him that you feel brokenness because of his silence.

Puffer (puffing!)



Puffer, with all due respect could it be you're projecting just a wee bit??

none of what you say - I repeat none - makes any sense (in my case) whatsoever.

let me recap - it's been almost 20 years. I've made peace with my life as it's been without my son, very sad at times, but I've managed. He abandoned me, plain and simple. Whatever happened, whenever it happened, however it happened, there's nothing I can do about it now and cannot nor will not be held responsible when it was he who walked away.

I bent over backwards trying to do good for my son. I was not perfect because no one is but to make such assumptions as you have written is just plain wrong and even can be construed as "blame the mom because it's just easier that way" sort of thinking.

I'm also not going to get into a defensive conversation about this because I have nothing to defend about. In the best of families, children are abused. Under the most watchful eye, a child can be kidnapped. In the most protected environment, bad things can happen. It's just the way the world works.

It is my opinion that my son has blamed me all along for whatever did happen because society simply doesn't demonstrate enough support of single parents - men or women. This is now - and I was a single mom before it became cool - when I spoke of divorcing his father, some of what was said to me was my son would automatically be a juvenile delinquent (he graduated high school with honors).

I made it a point his entire life growing up to sit down on a regular basis and discuss whatever it was that was on his mind. I brought up things in his past that might be bothering him and coaxed him to talk about it. I was one of the most - if not THE most -liberal, progressive-minded parents out there.

As for his father - he kidnapped our son when he was 4. I managed to get him back with the help of an entire squad of law enforcement when my husband pulled a gun on them all. That was a HUGE trauma in and of itself for my son and I did my best to manage the effects over time. During that time, my husband told him I was dead. Did something else happen then I'm not aware of? It took 2 years for my son to tell me that much - maybe more happened - I'm wondering now if it did.

In fact, I'm wondering about a LOT of things - his boy scout troop, or being on the track team, or receiving religous instruction at church (!!) - so many activities that I thought were supposed to be healthy and fulfilling, maybe somewhere in there something got by and I didn't catch it despite having the watchful eye of a hawk!

No, take your ill wind and blow up someone else's pipe. This kind of nonsense that because something happened to him and he walked away it MUST be my fault - sorry it doesn't hold water.

moreover, if anything, humility is NOT what is needed right now but backbreaking, jawgrinding strength - the kind that comes from spiritual awareness and uncompromising principles of knowing the difference in good and evil.

Evil will not win, not if I have anything to say about it. I have been fighting for almost 2 decades to reach him. I will reach him, somehow, I was hoping for suggestions and am believing that others will still come.

if nothing else, your response and the one that followed has reaffirmed my own self-worth and sincere understanding that it is, perhaps that most vicious of emotions: shame he has held inside which has driven him away, and deep inside himself, afraid that I would think less of him somehow, that somehow he has failed. that coupled together with blame and yes, it's a witch's brew of negativity.

for any survivor reading this who has also isolated himself in a similar fashion - shame is your nemisis - it is what needs to be conquered. standing up to shame is to open yourself to healing. don't let shame at what someone w/o conscious, w/o goodness, w/o heart and soul, did to you keep you from regaining your life.






_________________________
my avatar is one of the Battle Angel characters, fighting the good fight.

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#372861 - 10/19/11 10:55 PM Re: maybe my son is a male survivor [Re: Disappointed]
indygal Offline
Member

Registered: 06/22/06
Posts: 439
.

_________________________
my avatar is one of the Battle Angel characters, fighting the good fight.

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#372876 - 10/20/11 01:45 AM Re: maybe my son is a male survivor [Re: indygal]
whome Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/07/11
Posts: 1734
Loc: Johannesburg South Africa
Hi Indygal (This reply is written in love and support not anger)

I am sorry that you need to be here.

You have done one thing wrong here. You have already made up your mind that your son was abused. You have only suspicions and no proof whatsoever. If you ask him this he might think your are crazy.

It is very difficult for any of us to give an opinion here as you can only tell one side of your story.
There are a few things that are not correct in your reply to puffer. Children that grow up in safe loving nurturing environments, WILL NOT BE ABUSED. There are three things that a child needs growing up.
Nurturing, this is physical as well as mental nurturing, food education etc.
Love, love is hugs kisses and praise.
Safety, a home a bed and a safe place to shelter from any storm, and protection from those wanting to do harm.

If one of these pillars is missing, then things fall apart.

IF you want a solution to your problem, then you would need to have a VERY OPEN MIND. Your son would not stop loving you and wish you were dead for no reason at all.

Perhaps just asking him what it is that you did wrong would be a reasonable start to any future conversation. But if you ask the question, then expect an answer.

Ill tell you were I come from.
My relationship with my mother is similar. I to sometimes wish she were dead. These thoughts rack me with guilt, as a normal person should not feel this way about his mother. I started having flashbacks a while ago, where I see my mother abusing me sexually, (I don't say this is what you are doing, so don't get all angry), But when I try to talk to her about it, she denies it and tells me that I am making it up. Why on gods.....green..... earth, would I want to make up something like this.
So she flat out denies that this happened and the relationship is still in ruins.

Search your heart and see if you neglected your son and omitted one of the three pillars of his life, This thing is going to take a lot of honesty from both of you, and a lot of soul searching.

Respect his wishes, and start an email conversation. He probably feels that this is all he can manage, so respect him and do it his way.
Don't forget that in any confrontation, one has to make sacrifices, and give ground in order to ultimately gain ground.
Start things of lightly, dont rush into the heavy stuff.
Tell him you miss him and would love to resolve the problems in your relationship.
Ask simple questions about his life, his work, his social life, loves hates and so one.
Don't expect to much, but persistence is the key here, DON'T FORCE ANYTHING.
Lure him with love. This man has lived a guilt ridden life, no one should hate his mother.
Now the most important point.
If your son tells you something that you did wrong, it is going to hurt like hell, DON'T GET DEFENSIVE,AND DON'T RETALIATE. if you do, this will be the end of it and he will never see you again. I know, this is what I have done.

I hope that you make headway with your son, I could not imagine having no contact with my daughter, she is my life. so I can imagine that this is painful for you.

AGAIN. this answer is written in love and the hope that you find a way to mend your relationship with your son. From one broken son to another, I hope you manage this.

_________________________
Matrix Men South Africa
Survivors Supporting Each other
Matrix Men Blog

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#372897 - 10/20/11 10:01 AM Re: maybe my son is a male survivor [Re: whome]
Castle Offline


Registered: 10/03/09
Posts: 731
Loc: NJ
All I read is I,I,I,I, me me me me.

Im sure there is a forum for you to work out your guilt and such, as it seems to me.

And even if YOU made good with your past, maybe HE hasn't.

Who is this about?...In that time when you were in abbusive relationships and thereafter, you did things to work out your issues...Where was your son feelings? how the abussive relationship(s) effected him?

And seemingly from your story, you never did protect him, and maybe he does blame you...but I can see your defensiveness in your writing and that if you bring this attitude into this, you may never get "back' your son, if you even want to.

" I feel manipulated and used. He's abandoned me for so many years."...who's the parent and who's the child? and if he put the boundries that he would like to start by written response and its not the way you want to control it tells me soooooo much...maybe HE needs it his way for a change.

BTW, I've sparred with many here and dont care what you say about me or my thoughts...If your coming here with thoughts be prepared for the tough responses.

Men dont just cut out their MOms for no reason, if you believe that your in a fantasy land.

_________________________

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

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#372919 - 10/20/11 03:10 PM Re: maybe my son is a male survivor [Re: indygal]
cris40ky Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/20/11
Posts: 188
Loc: KY, US
20yrs is a long, long time. I could only guess why he's acted the way he has.

But this is a start. He's reaching out now. The only advice I can give is to honor his step for what it is. He's trying. For whatever reason, this is very hard for him to do. And he may not do it again if he withdraws this time.

Try to meet him where he is.


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