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#427680 - 03/10/13 07:29 PM Re: Abused by Mother, and Forgiveness [Re: concerned_husky]
concerned_husky Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/29/12
Posts: 605
I'm adding to my earlier post, because as supportive as the direct responses to it have been, it seemed like it did trigger some negative responses on the forum in terms of 'forgiveness'. And to be honest, those posts have made me delve deeper into this subject and ask myself whether I really believed in 'forgiveness', or even if it was necessary/good for recovery and healing.

So...like with any debate, I started off with defining and asking myself what I meant by 'forgiveness'...and I actually couldn't come up with a concrete answer. So I did skimmed through wikipedia and satisfied myself with these main points -

Forgiving, is:
1. Ceasing to hate, or to feel anger
2. Ceasing to seek revenge, or demand punishment

and is helped through (though doesn't require) the offender asking for forgiveness or apologizing.

In light of this, I can only say that I actually half-agree with 'forgiveness' as the path forward for me now. So yeah, I guess I'm eating up my words a little. I'm still working on figuring out the difference between hatred and anger; I think the former lasts longer and can translate into destructive aggression on oneself or on others, while the latter is more temporary that can be dealt with by self-soothing mechanisms. When you look back at memories of abuse, I think it's a natural response - no matter how old you get and how much you've recovered - to feel anger and pain. And I'd say it's a healthy response to, because anger is something you feel when something happens that is unjust, and abuse is sure as hell unjust. I did feel hatred for a long time, but through reading countless articles/books on psychology, I was gradually able to accept that things couldn't have been different and that they (the past) are unchangeable. This helped in letting go of my hatred, gradually transforming it into anger, which over time has shed its cover to reveal pain. For countless, countless different things coming together at once - bad childhood, bad parents, bad circumstances/situations, bad social networks, lack of a moral compass, low IQ, personality disorders, and probably csa herself - my mother abused me; these things merely explain her abuse and that helped me overcome my hatred, since part of it was because I couldn't understand why she did the things she did and that used to enrage me. But these reasons DO NOT JUSTIFY her actions, and I think anger is still a justified reaction. So about 1), in a nutshell, I half-agree.

As for 2), I realize that gambling was in a way a form of revenge. I wanted to make my parents suffer - my mom for the abuse, and my dad for not having protected me from it. And for them still justifying/minimizing/rationalizing the abuse. I wanted to cripple them, just bring them down; I gambled, I gambled, and I gambled, pissing away money like it was paper. About two weeks ago I self-barred myself from casinos. I can't gamble anywhere in the country now. It's given me time and perspective. Looking back, I can see now that in a way, the gambling was a form of escape and revenge; subconscious hatred was driving my life, and when that aggression started burning out and pain started to set in, I delved further into that addiction in order to emotionally escape. I hit rock-bottom (which had me suicidal and resulted in me writing my first frantic post). And really, it's a sh***y way to live. I was still living the abuse even if it wasn't happening at the time. And what was CRAZY, looking back at it, was I thought that my delinquent/acting-out behavior might change my parents so that they'd be more interested in my opinion, my feelings; I thought they'd change to look into themselves more and become more self-critical, to get more humble and accept their mistakes. Nope. They did feel pain and did suffer for it (obviously, for financially reasons), and I do admit I got a slight kick out of that sometimes, but it was a double-edged sword - all the blame came back on me. Sorry for the awful imagery, but honestly it was like taking a dump and then having it flushed onto me. So as for 2), I'd wholeheartedly agree in 'forgiveness' - revenge might bring down your perpetrator and satisfy the lust of your hatred, but it brings you down as well. And...well, it sucks being down, especially being at the bottom end of the pit.

I thought it was interesting because according to these definitions, 'forgiveness' is our own choice, and it can be done without the presence of the offender/perpetrator, albeit being more difficult. Also, there was nothing about justifying the abuse, and I felt that was a good thing, because really, nothing can and ever will justify abuse - it is wrong, it is impermissible, it shouldn't happen.

I guess in the end, what I meant from the first post was that accepting that things couldn't have been different has helped me in dissolving my hatred, though not anger - and I don't mind feeling anger occasionally because it is a natural emotional response to injustice; and that life is a lot better when revenge and hatred are not its driving forces. Also, from your responses, I've come to appreciate the fact that forgiving and breaking contact with the abuser aren't mutually exclusive - the latter is something I will probably do once I become financially independent. At this point in time, I can't see my abuser changing, let alone apologizing or asking for forgiveness.

Anyway, thanks again to those who responded, it's helped in clearing up my thoughts on the issue a lot.
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Husky

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#427794 - 03/11/13 09:49 PM Re: Abused by Mother, and Forgiveness [Re: concerned_husky]
focusedbody Offline


Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 373
Loc: NY
Concerned Husky:

I too have had a difficult and complicated relationship with my mother with ongoing sexual overtones and various kinds of boundary crossings.

Your perspective on her life and what she may have gone through seems wise and naturally can urge one to feel forgiveness. But as Robert Karen writes in "The Forgiving Self", forgiving involves going through a lot of feelings.

What impresses me about your post is that you have access to a range of feelings. I find that it is powerful to acknowledge all of them, because for so many years I tried to live up to expectations of feeling only the ones that seemed appropriate. No More! That was so debilitating.

As an adult male who wants to be in a good relationship, I think emotional literacy can be hard work but it also pays off big (a recommended gamble!). First, in staying in touch with myself. Second, in being able to be present with other people.

Forgiveness, like healing, seems like a process to me. I think going at one's own pace helps the right instincts arise. You may find that confronting works better in some ways more than others.

Last year I led my mother through a conversation about my take on why we are so "anxious around each other" Then she burst out and said, "a mother should be able to touch her child any way she wants!". This was such a good affirmation for me, because she had never actually said it so clearly before.

Now I use that as more of a baseline for our emotional and physical relationship. Reciprocity is not easy to explain to people, but you can remind them that how you receive something is just as important as how it is given.

Reading over what I've written here, it's pretty easy to see where I might have gotten the idea that some feelings shouldn't be felt. Sadly, she is still learning that for herself.

Hope to hear more from you as your journey continues.
_________________________
Lose the drama; life is a poem.

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#427863 - 03/12/13 01:54 PM Re: Abused by Mother, and Forgiveness [Re: concerned_husky]
concerned_husky Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/29/12
Posts: 605
hey focusedbody,

"A mother should be able to touch her child any way she wants!" - that is pretty disturbing and chilling; my mother never verbalized it but I'm sure she (still) thinks along the same lines.

You bring up a lot of good points that I can easily relate to looking at my relationship with my mother...sexual overtones, boundary crossings, range of feelings, emotional literacy, confronting, etc. I think what got me the most was "feeling what shouldn't be felt". I'm guessing you meant a parent's lust for a child. But I guess it could also mean 'negative emotions' like anger/hatred/rage etc. And I absolutely agree with you - it was only when I was about 21/22 that these feelings started becoming conscious to me, and that the bubble made by dissociation and being 'warped' by the physical intimacy started to burst.

Oddly enough, I happened to talk to her over the phone today. It's been about two months since I talked to her. At least I'm at a safe physical distance from her. But it didn't go as badly as I expected it to go. A few things helped me. First, verbal defense - just labeling quickly the things she's doing, and calling her out on it, whether it's minimizing, lecturing, mocking, framing, self-pity etc. There's so much power struggle going on, but being aware of this helped a lot. That really it wasn't a question of love - what she had framed our relationship previously, and which I unfortunately believed but thankfully not anymore - but of power. Also realized how thanks to MS and psychology and whatnot, I now have the language to defend myself and just how much of a huge difference that makes in (re-)asserting boundaries... And second, maybe more important - just lowering expectations of her. Just expecting a lot of bullshit prepares you for it I guess.

From what you've written though it seems like you're making real progress and that there might be a glimmer of hope in your mother changing her attitudes/behavior. I hope that's the case and that it improves as time passes.
_________________________
Husky

My Story

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#427934 - 03/13/13 02:54 PM Re: Abused by Mother, and Forgiveness [Re: concerned_husky]
concerned_husky Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/29/12
Posts: 605
Just writing again because I need to let it out. I just talked to her today and it feels like I just drank a bottle of poison. It's making me reconsider everything I've said - all those conclusions I came to after breaking off contact with her for two months. But now things are different again. A fresh dose of emotional/thought-invalidation, denial, rationalizations, lectures, contempt, ordering, boasting, discouraging...poison poison poison. It's like I got lured into it with a false sense of security and strength, and with her manipulative 'understanding' and air-headed compliments. How could I have let my guard down? So pissed at myself. For being so stupid. Thought I could protect my boundaries verbally and still stay in touch with her. Wrong, wrong, wrong. If anything, cutting her off from my life is boundary protection. Some 180 I'm doing here but ugh. Wish she'd just die.

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#428271 - 03/16/13 11:12 PM Re: Abused by Mother, and Forgiveness [Re: concerned_husky]
focusedbody Offline


Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 373
Loc: NY
concerned husky:

Sorry to hear of the painful 180. Yes, those moments of "how did that happen again" can be really awful.

As you have said before, expecting others to change can be difficult. And the feeling of poison, well let's just say that is all to common for me. There were days that after seeing my mother when I stood outside the gym and couldn't go in because I didn't want to feel my body. It can take a few days to work the toxicity through to the point of a fuller realization of the dynamic in all its dimensions.

These dynamics go back so far that sometimes they go beyond words. Sometimes opening up the frame even bigger can help you gain a more empowered perspective. With my Mom, it can be actions which on the surface seem rational but all in all are indicative of a dynamic that in the end only I can see. This includes ways in which she creates a sense of exclusivity in our relationship, talks to me as if I were my father, wants to be my friend and not my mother, or wants to sneak away with me when I need to get something done. While I can't confront her directly on these all the time, being both vigilant and curious about the behavior keeps me out of the danger zone.

Is there any way you can slowly reconstruct and replay what happened and look for where it all caved in? I think sensing the "false security and strength" is a familiar theme. Question it until you are ready to let go of it. Then you might see her for who she is again. You may find that if you are confident that will you give yourself a little more space to listen, you can get a better handle on the being "lured in".

Hope this helps some in staying on the safer path to healing and growth.
_________________________
Lose the drama; life is a poem.

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#428623 - 03/21/13 04:59 PM Re: Abused by Mother, and Forgiveness [Re: concerned_husky]
concerned_husky Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/29/12
Posts: 605
Hey focusebody,

Thanks for the comments. I had pondered on it quite a bit and hence the late reply; sorry about that. I think you're right about the 'false security and strength', it's slowly becoming something that I'm beginning to understand. It's not just with my mother, it's with people, everyone - narcissism I think would be another word. I've started reducing contact with her drastically again - I guess earlier, a part of me wanted to believe that I can still have contact with my own mother (I mean, she brought me into this world) and withstand the physical advances and emotional crap. I've shed myself of that belief too. I guess that's what closure is in a way - accepting something, reforming expectations and just acknowledging some things can't be changed. Thanks again for your input.
_________________________
Husky

My Story

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#428796 - 03/23/13 06:01 AM Re: Abused by Mother, and Forgiveness [Re: concerned_husky]
Farmer Boy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/23/12
Posts: 442
Loc: Australia
I've been reading this in relation to my relationship with my mother. While it is not overtly sexual it could easily be described as covert incest.
Quote:
This includes ways in which she creates a sense of exclusivity in our relationship, talks to me as if I were my father, wants to be my friend and not my mother, or wants to sneak away with me when I need to get something done.


That sums it up pretty well.

Thanks Focusedboby and concerned-husky for discussing this publicly. It has helped me a lot. The other thing I couldn't help realising which was HUGE. Is that I have similar problems with my brothers who did SA me when I was younger. To me it seems like these same toxic type relationships may be common in all incestuous relationships.

I find myself realising that I need to set boundries with all my family members to protect myself.
_________________________
More than meets the eye!

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#428929 - 03/24/13 02:04 PM Re: Abused by Mother, and Forgiveness [Re: concerned_husky]
concerned_husky Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/29/12
Posts: 605
hey Farmer Boy,

I think you're absolutely right about needing to set boundaries in order to protect yourself. You nail it when you say these kind of incestuous relationships are really toxic, and setting boundaries is so crucial. I've been wishy washy about this (as you can probably see in my moody posts), but I think after all I've said previously on this thread, I'm coming to the conclusion that the only way to set boundaries with my mother is to rupture the relationship completely, if not severely. It's a s***** thing to have to do with the person who brought you into this world, but I think it's necessary for sanity and some level of happiness, something all of us deserve.

Hope things go well with your recovery.
_________________________
Husky

My Story

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