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#426592 - 02/26/13 05:49 PM What's Next?
unwritten Offline


Registered: 04/22/12
Posts: 19
I joined this forum last year seeking help for then 17 (now 18) year-old son, and would like some guidance from those of you who have worked through the process of counseling.

My son has seen well over twenty counselors, some of which were in a group home he lived in for seven months.

His 25 yo sister moved back home at Christmas, and she has become his unofficial counselor because he has found that he has been able to talk more comfortably with her than he has with anyone else. They have also gone together to see his individual counselor as well, and he told her that she had a gift for counseling.

He has made progress talking to his sister, which included him finally accepting the fact that having been sexually abused has impacted his life. This is a huge milestone because, before his sister began talking with him he absolutely insisted that it was not been the source of any of his problems.

Now that they have reached this point, they seem to have hit a wall. They saw his individual counselor again to see what the next step in the process should be, and it sounds as though he was less than helpful. Apparently he told them that he needed to forgive his abuser. I think (hope) that he might have meant that as an eventual goal, but the information they were seeking is what is the process that will help him to heal.

Could some of you share how you approached this and what was most helpful for you?

Here's a link to our story: Peer Abuse

(edited because I originally linked to a different post than I intended to - Please scroll down to the 6th post)

Thanks for any help you can give.

Unwritten


Edited by unwritten (02/26/13 07:55 PM)
_________________________
Today I will be as happy as a bird with a french fry.

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#426593 - 02/26/13 06:02 PM Re: What's Next? [Re: unwritten]
cant_remember Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/05
Posts: 1039
Hello Unwritten,

Your son is very lucky to have a supportive family that understands. Has he tried EMDR therapy to try to break through his PTSD symptoms?

Is he still cutting himself?

Has he joined MS as a member here? If not, why not? And maybe you could re-visit the issue with him?

Cant
_________________________
Recovery is possible. Hang in there, brothers.

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#426603 - 02/26/13 07:43 PM Re: What's Next? [Re: unwritten]
unwritten Offline


Registered: 04/22/12
Posts: 19
Hi Can't...thanks for responding.

I'm not familiar with EMDR therapy, but I'll read up on it tonight.

We'd hoped the cutting was a thing of the past, but he did resort to it last week. It was much more superficial than before - more like scratching or grazing that should heal without scarring and he now regrets it.

He says he is getting ready to join here - He has said that he would before and had procrastinated but tells me now that he has written something for his first post, so I'm crossing my fingers that he'll follow up. I have had him read the other two threads that I've posted.
_________________________
Today I will be as happy as a bird with a french fry.

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#426625 - 02/26/13 11:24 PM Re: What's Next? [Re: unwritten]
cant_remember Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/05
Posts: 1039
OK,

2 things;

1) Suggest that he keep a rubber band around his wrist and to snap it instead of cutting or scratching.

2) Have him send me a message when he signs up if he would like someone to help ease him into this stage of his recovery.

all best,

Cant
_________________________
Recovery is possible. Hang in there, brothers.

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#426632 - 02/27/13 12:38 AM Re: What's Next? [Re: cant_remember]
crazy gecko Offline


Registered: 10/04/12
Posts: 309
Originally Posted By: cant_remember
1) Suggest that he keep a rubber band around his wrist and to snap it instead of cutting or scratching.

I second this. I sounds silly, but it works like a charm...
_________________________
I guess what I'm trying to say
Is whose life is it anyway because livin'
Living is the best revenge
You can play
-- Def Leppard

My Story, Part 2

My blog

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#426666 - 02/27/13 09:49 AM Re: What's Next? [Re: unwritten]
Wife - Survivor Offline


Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 38
Loc: PA
I wish you & your family all the Best in this process. I can only comment on the Forgiveness thing. I have been in recovery for CSA for 5 years & all is going quite well BUT forgiveness has not happened for me. I am surprised that has been brought up when your son is still struggling w/some immediate issues. For me I am riding on "maybe some animals do not deserve my forgiveness". I add to that, that if God has forgiven a 'repentant' animal, then I will. Forgiveness works for some but there are too many other issues I have had to put 1st, for me. Maybe that comes later..... Just my experience/thoughts. God Bless you all.
_________________________
Everyone DESERVES Recovery, IF they WANT it.
Anything worth it, takes mucho Time & Willingness.

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#426667 - 02/27/13 10:27 AM Re: What's Next? [Re: unwritten]
Candu Offline


Registered: 06/30/12
Posts: 312
Loc: Canada
From what I have read forgiveness is not a requirement for adequate healing. And putting an emphasis on forgiveness can be counter productive. If forgiveness happens it will be from the survivor on their own time. You can't push forgiveness.

I think a push in that directions is a mistake but I know nothing about the actual situation. My opinion on it is just opinion based on my feelings and not based on what is going on with him.


What About Forgiveness? I found this while doing a search on forgiveness after the OP's post. I'm sure there is better information out there on the subject. But I thought this was worth reading.

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#426672 - 02/27/13 12:26 PM Re: What's Next? [Re: unwritten]
unwritten Offline


Registered: 04/22/12
Posts: 19
Can't -

My son and I talked more about this site last night, and the plan is for him to join this evening. I will definitely ask him to contact you, and I deeply appreciate you're willingness to reach out to him.

We have been trying to prevent him from being online, which may seem odd because he is 18, but he has an obsession with much older men - like over 40 - and has been 'meeting' them on dating site. He has had several that he has talked to over the last few months, and actually met up with two (that I know of) in person, but none of them have turned out to be the kind of people he'd hoped to meet.

As adults, I know we all are aware of the motives behind people this age who appear interested in someone as young as he is, but he has been unable to see that these are not good people, and he has been hurt by these encounters. So to try to protect him from the temptation of venturing to other sites, his sister is going to help him get started here.

Wife & Candu, I agree with you about the forgiveness part...While it may, eventually, be healing to forgive an abuser, to do so too early makes it about them and not about the victim.

To all of you, thanks for your responses.
_________________________
Today I will be as happy as a bird with a french fry.

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#426676 - 02/27/13 01:04 PM Re: What's Next? [Re: unwritten]
Lancer Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 901
Loc: Florida
I'm in awe your son has this kind of support.

I'll echo Candu on the forgiveness issue. When/if it comes, that's waaaay down the road, imo. I've never forgiven my deceased abuser, nor do I have any inclination in that direction. The parents whose abusiveness set me up for the perp - though I now completely understand the dynamic, family history, etc. - there's no forgiveness for them, either.

Sometimes, too, there's a point when the current therapist has outlived his/her usefulness. That's fine. Your son needs to understand he's under no obligation to this therapist. His recovery is about HIM, not the therapist. It's about the healthiest selfishness I can imagine.

One suggestion I'd make may be hard for you to hear as a parent in this circumstance. But it's made a considerable difference in my progress. That's anonymity. As an 18-year-old, I'd have a hard time being frank if I knew a parent was looking over my shoulder at what I'd posted. His location, DOB, etc., are not things that are required on MS and, for now, I'd discourage him from providing that or any identifying information online. I'd even go so far as to tell him not to supply you with his MS online handle.

Alternatively, he should know that PMs are another option if he has heavy stuff with which he's dealing.

That said, I don't know your exact situation and I recognize that cutting is an issue. Obviously, though he's reached majority, it's your call.

Well done...and I like the French fry quote!

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#426678 - 02/27/13 01:13 PM Re: What's Next? [Re: unwritten]
cant_remember Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/05
Posts: 1039
OK,

Not to get too deep into this because at a certain point, an adult son's sexuality is not his mother's business... However, I will share with you that it could be the case that the abuse has affected your son's arousal template.

Which is to say: that thing he has for older men? It might never go away. I appreciate your concerns for him and your desire to protect him, and certainly there are a few of us here who could have benefitted from a mother who knew what we were up to at 18...

However, there's a downside to this as well. You don't want him thinking you are helicoptering over him and interfering with his life, even though you have the best intentions.

Edit: To follow up on Lancer's post above: it is critical for him to know that you won't be reading his posts here. Tell him that you come to the Friends&Family forum to post and that you don't look at other forums or other posts, and then follow through with it. Like Lancer said, you should not know what your son's user name is here. If he thinks his posts are getting read, he will self-censor himself and dilute his recovery.

Cant


Edited by cant_remember (02/27/13 01:17 PM)
_________________________
Recovery is possible. Hang in there, brothers.

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#426680 - 02/27/13 01:16 PM Re: What's Next? [Re: unwritten]
Wife - Survivor Offline


Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 38
Loc: PA
While it's a really BIG step, some people have 'accepted' a Nanny Guard be put on their computers. Someone other than the 'surfer' has control over what programs can open. That acceptance is hard since they don't really see the danger that is quite present for them, especially younger. We can have a lot of Self Righteousness ya know. So many CSA's are looking for answers in all the wrong places, then it becomes just another addiction/problem. This can & should be discussed w/T.
I just read about his anonymity needs & AGREE so very much.
_________________________
Everyone DESERVES Recovery, IF they WANT it.
Anything worth it, takes mucho Time & Willingness.

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#426683 - 02/27/13 01:37 PM Re: What's Next? [Re: unwritten]
Lancer Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 901
Loc: Florida
Addendum on the anonymity. He should not provide his full name, phone number, email or street address to any members, no matter how friendly they might seem. Period.

For one, it's because we all go through ups and downs. But, if there are life-threatening problems, there are resources such as the National Suicide Hotline, etc., which a lot of us will freely recommend. Many of us have encountered MS friends who go through crises. Scary ones. Many of us also realize we're powerless to control any outcome. So, though we encourage, we don't meddle. Several months ago an MS buddy was going thru a couple suicidal moments. All I could do was provide understanding from my own experience and encourage him to contact the hotline. I guess I said a prayer to myself and left it at that. He's fine today. But it was out of my hands.

Related, therefore, phone/outside email with members, unless you've met them in one of the Weekends and deem them trustworthy, is out of the question.


I know this is a huge and difficult step for you parents, too. One thing I learned long ago in Al-Anon, bluntly, is that my alcoholic's recovery was none of my business. I'm not responsible for getting him to meetings, making sure he doesn't drink, controlling his mail, etc. It was HIS program. It was HIS recovery.

It just occurs to me that giving him the handles of people with whom you've dealt here in the F&F forum probably isn't a good idea. lol...bug out! Let him find his own people, imo. I would prefer you not provide mine. For me, it principles over personalities. People sometimes (even strongly) disagree with my opinions, too.

In that respect, though not directly related to CSA, you may find the general Al-Anon philosophy helpful to you and I'd encourage you to try several different meetings.

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#426697 - 02/27/13 05:34 PM Re: What's Next? [Re: unwritten]
unwritten Offline


Registered: 04/22/12
Posts: 19
Lancer -

I agree that a counselor can outlive their usefulness. Our son has been very reluctant to discuss his abuse with anyone, but I'm happy that he has found someone he feels comfortable talking to in his sister. As a side note, I would never intrude on their conversations or ask her to disclose anything to me, although there have been a few instances where they have come to me, together, to talk about a particular subject. The point of their talking isn't about me, it's about his healing. To me, the fact that it's my daughter doesn't allow him any less confidentiality than if it were a professional counselor.

I also understand what you're saying about anonymity, and it's not at all hard to hear. As a matter of fact, when we were talking about this site, I told him that I didn't want him to tell me his user name and that I would not be looking to find anything he posted. He does, though, want his sister to look at this site with him when he posts.

There is no benefit for him if he can't speak freely. And he can't speak freely if he thinks his mom is reading it.

Can't -

My ultimate concern is that he is his true self. But, I understand that will be what it will be. The problem is his thought process isn't yet that of a typical 18yo, - there are emotional maturity issues that seem to be the result of the abuse - and he is engaging in extremely dangerous behavior. I'll leave that to his discretion to talk about here, since they're not my stories to tell. My goal is to keep him alive and healthy until he is able to do so on his own. Or until I'm no longer able to.

Wife -

Looking for answers in the wrong places is a perfect description of what he has done.

-

There is nothing I want more than to see him mature, head off to college and begin to make his own life, and what that will be will be totally up to him. But the abuse has created so many problems for him that, as a parent, I have to do whatever is in my power for as long as I can to protect him from lifelong consequences.

But, I do promise, I won't be a sneaky mom, checking to see what he's written. There's no value in that and, truthfully, I already know more than I wish I did. : )
_________________________
Today I will be as happy as a bird with a french fry.

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#426698 - 02/27/13 06:00 PM Re: What's Next? [Re: unwritten]
Wife - Survivor Offline


Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 38
Loc: PA
Add'l thoughts:
1)You too should not give him your handle so you too can have Your anonymity. Keep that just for yourself. We each heal so differently.
2)And I hope that after sharing w/a 25 yr old, he continues that sharing w/a Professional. I'm sure she is a great young woman BUT just wouldn't have the Prof skills needed. i.e. my H & girl friend are very gentle with me; but my T may "tell it like is really is" then give me the Guidance I need.
3)Yep,our maturity has been locked in neutral. It will change but only later w/T.
Just my thoughts....
_________________________
Everyone DESERVES Recovery, IF they WANT it.
Anything worth it, takes mucho Time & Willingness.

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#426730 - 02/28/13 04:12 AM Re: What's Next? [Re: unwritten]
Lancer Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 901
Loc: Florida
I'll preface by saying, unwritten, I'm glad you're posting here in F&F and willing to share your thots.

I looked at your posts and they're overwhelmingly about your son.

How's YOUR life going? You and your husband going out and doing things? Enjoying each other's company? Working on the hobbies you find satisfying? What interests do YOU have? What are you doing with your friends? I'm not talking denial or sticking your heads in the sand. I'm talking about having a life of your own.

Or are you consumed with this issue 24/7? If so, what's that doing to you? And what are you going to do about it? Considering that someone you love is having alcohol, among other problems, you massively qualify for Al-Anon anyway. Have you, too, considered a therapist for yourself? I haven't noted anything about you seeking professional help for yourself. As it is for your son, this is an extraordinary situation for you and one about which you've been posting for nearly a year.

Both are excellent ideas, imo.

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