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#427498 - 03/08/13 05:19 PM Abused by Mother, and Forgiveness
concerned_husky Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/29/12
Posts: 586
I'm posting on the forum because I need a wider audience for an idea that's probably somewhat offensive, and that will probably trigger angry reactions. I guess I just need to speak my mind and have some feedback to bounce off of.

My perpetrator was my mother (I feel guilty even being on here because the abuse wasn't overtly sexual, but that will require another post entirely). To keep it short, she fondled me when I was around 5, formed a relationship with me that can be basically described as covert emotional incest, slept with me between from 14-20 (caressing, kissing, stroking etc. though there was no sex and she never touched my penis/genitals). It's messed up my sexuality (though it's better than it was before), made me prone to panic/anxiety attacks, dissociated etc. I'm still financially dependent on my parents so I still have to face her back home, and when I do there's plenty of emotional abuse, manipulation, and seductive behavior.

To the point now - my thought today was I need to forgive her in order to move on. And for me, forgiving means accepting that things couldn't have been otherwise. I know she was abused in her childhood as well, by strangers (men) and beaten by her mother, probably by her father as well. All that, I think, translates to her behavior and for her abuse of me. I don't think forgiving means relinquishing my anger, which is justified - a mother does NOT treat her son as a husband, partner, an object for physical (and it was probably sexual too, for her) gratification. But I'd like to replace my hatred with forgiveness. And I need to be more assertive - defend my boundaries when I'm with her, and be clear about how I feel and think about certain things, and defend those boundaries/thoughts/feelings.

I guess the most difficult thing for me at the moment is, I feel sorry for her. It was mostly bad memories, the ones I have of my parents - but there were some moments when I thought my mother and father showed genuine expressions of love for me, and those kill me. I want to hate but I can't. So I can't give my hatred the weight it needs in terms of expression - I have to suppress it and pretend like everything's fine. But I'm really exhausted of doing it and I can't keep pretending, so I need a plan B. I suppose I need to stop wishing that they'd change for the better too, because if they've been behaving that way for so long and rationalizing/blaming/minimizing things for decades on end, it's pretty delusional to think that they can stop. Just accept them for the abusers/bystanders that they are, and work on self-assertion/-defense to reduce and prevent further damage.
_________________________
Husky

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#427501 - 03/08/13 05:40 PM Re: Abused by Mother, and Forgiveness [Re: concerned_husky]
Magellan Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/31/10
Posts: 1402
Loc: California
I am really impressed and inspired by your desire to find forgiveness for your mother.

It was not until I turned 39 that I realized that my carrying anger towards my mom for very similar things as you described was only helping to further HER story; her sense of being a victim.

As long as I carried anger in my heart towards her, she could play the victim of my anger. It didn't matter how justified the anger was; she just continued playing her role in her life, which is to be the victim.

I chose to let go of the anger and have been working on letting go of it since. Forgiveness is a major part of that.

Kudos to you dude. Keep going.

D
_________________________
It's a heroes journey, and you are the hero.

Loving Kindness Meditation will dramatically improve your spirits; give it a try for just 3 days: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sz7cpV7ERsM

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#427504 - 03/08/13 05:50 PM Re: Abused by Mother, and Forgiveness [Re: concerned_husky]
concerned_husky Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/29/12
Posts: 586
Thanks Magellan, I appreciate it. It's good to know someone's having the same thoughts during these bumpy times. Good luck to you.
_________________________
Husky

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#427511 - 03/08/13 06:27 PM Re: Abused by Mother, and Forgiveness [Re: concerned_husky]
Benthebeaver Offline


Registered: 02/10/13
Posts: 12
Loc: Germany
Same as Magellan said, I think it's just an admirable attitude. I'm also impressed by how clearly you're seeing all those things..seems like you're on a really good way. I wish you the best to make it real.
_________________________
If we're not entirely ourselves, truly in this present moment, we'll miss everything.

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#427513 - 03/08/13 07:13 PM Re: Abused by Mother, and Forgiveness [Re: concerned_husky]
concerned_husky Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/29/12
Posts: 586
Thanks Ben. I really think it's easier said than done like most things, but I'll try my best to keep it real.
_________________________
Husky

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#427515 - 03/08/13 07:30 PM Re: Abused by Mother, and Forgiveness [Re: concerned_husky]
BraveFalcon Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/25/13
Posts: 1106
Loc: The ATL
Hello Concerned Husky! I don't understand why you would expect anger from others for anything you said. If anything, I find your attitude quite inspirational and healthy. It takes a very strong person to come to the conclusions you've come to and to forgive, even when those you have to forgive are the ones that brought you into this world.

It's not quite the same thing, but I can relate to some of what you're saying because of my issues with my father. No, my father did not sexually abuse me in any way but in the earlier part of my childhood he was physically and emotionally abusive. (My CSA was not from parents/family.) In my preteen years he started to mellow out a lot but I was still TERRIFIED of him. The T I went to in my late teens thought it was essential that I confront him about his old abusive behaviors but I never did and never have, to this day. I spent a lot of years secretly hating him but have since learned to forgive, even without having confronted him. Only in recent years would I say he and I have a "good father-son relationship" and I am now 38. Forgiveness is possible, and is healthy, I think.

Having said all that, I'm not going to say confronting your mother is a bad idea. It may be the best thing you could possibly do but that doesn't mean it's 100% necessary. Also, there is always the chance it could backfire and that she could react with nothing but anger and denial. You probably know her better than almost anyone though, so you probably already know how strong a possibility such a reaction is. If you think a severely negative reaction is a strong possibility, then quiet forgiveness is probably the best path, if you can ultimately get to it. Good luck. Stay strong. Peace.

Ken


Edited by BraveFalcon (03/08/13 07:33 PM)

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#427517 - 03/08/13 08:05 PM Re: Abused by Mother, and Forgiveness [Re: concerned_husky]
concerned_husky Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/29/12
Posts: 586
Thanks Ken.

It's good to hear you have a better relationship with your father now.

About confrontation - it is certainly not an easy task and it does backfire. I've actually confronted my mother on this issue before (and with my father), but she brushed it off as 'maternal love' - as you suggested she might. Which brings me back to the conclusion - as painful as it is, sometimes rather than trying to change someone, wishing they'd change or hoping to change someone, it's better to just accept them for who they are and work on self-assertion/-defense.

Good luck with your recovery.
_________________________
Husky

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#427532 - 03/08/13 11:37 PM Re: Abused by Mother, and Forgiveness [Re: concerned_husky]
Lancer Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 901
Loc: Florida
Haha...you think YOU'RE going to incur the ire of others, husky? I'll toss in my two cents' (and probably watch the sparks fly)...a Plan B, if you will.

My background with the bitchmother (as I'm calling her this month) was physical, verbal and emotional abuse that pretty much delivered me to my high school guidance counselor perp.

First, what concerns me is your financial dependence on her which, imo, sets you up for ongoing emotional blackmail. You've mentioned "emotional abuse, manipulation...." It's not unlike what my step-sister encountered as an abused spouse and all the fears about having to struggle on her own. Simply, your situation is not healthy, more likely destructive, you've recognized it and recognized the effect it's having on you. Two suggestions, if you can. First, get out of the situation. Second, get started with a T...even one in your school environment. At least you probably have that. I'm not saying it's gonna be easy. Extricating yourself from the situation may be difficult because the pain is familiar and, yeah, comfortable. Anything else is a huge, scary unknown.

Secondly, a response to one of your earlier posts mentioned Gamblers Anonymous. I'll second that suggestion. At the least I'd encourage you to get involved with them as a portal to other recovery. To me, it sounds like the gambling is a way to keep punishing yourself and keep you tied to the situation. It isn't uncommon for many of us to feel we somehow "deserve" to be punished and that's one way to do it.

Third, best I could ever do with "forgiveness" was, like you, to at least have an understanding of the dynamic. Today I see her as a small, insecure, pathetic, angry woman who's incapable of change and who, frankly, doesn't deserve my companionship, how ever furious it's made her and fed her martyrdom. I've done much better without that awful woman in my life. Surprisingly, too, I've recently reconnected with some relatives who have confirmed my impressions and who support me unconditionally.


(So much for me taking the month off the boards, but sometimes I run into something).

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#427559 - 03/09/13 08:57 AM Re: Abused by Mother, and Forgiveness [Re: concerned_husky]
whome Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/07/11
Posts: 1734
Loc: Johannesburg South Africa
Hey Husky

I know, I have vivid memories of that sort of thing, but it stopped when I was 10 or 11. Then the others took over till I was 19, men and woman.
I had to make the decision, forgive or live with hatred in my heart till I die. I forgave, I tried to talk to her about what she had done but DeNile, is not just a river in africa. Denial denial, and I dont know what you talking about, thats all I got. So what do I do, I realized that she was probably hurt as a child and she doesnt want to talk about it, and the fact that she was unable to control herself because of the past. I cant blame her entirely for what happened. I forgave, she knows that I know and she can come to me before she passes and say sorry, or not, either way I have let it go and choose to live my life to the full.
I hope this help you brother, and BTW there was nothing controversial about your post, there are many that have endured this, you are not alone.

Heal well
Martin
_________________________
Matrix Men South Africa
Survivors Supporting Each other
Matrix Men Blog

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#427590 - 03/09/13 03:33 PM Re: Abused by Mother, and Forgiveness [Re: concerned_husky]
concerned_husky Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/29/12
Posts: 586
hey guys - thanks for your responses.

Lancer - you're right about my situation being destructive at the moment. At least, I'm in a different country from where they are now, and I don't see them often, just get pestered to keep up correspondence in e-mail etc. It seems like the more I ignore my mother, the more 'sick' she gets, mentally and physically - but if it's coming down to me or her in terms of survival, eventually I'm going to pick myself. Obviously the guilt-tripping card is played, but I don't fall for that anymore. I know it's not my responsibility to care for her - that's my dad's, that's why she married him. Also, I happen to live in Austria at the moment, and frankly therapy in German is a difficult proposition, so I'm making do now with reading articles and books I've found myself on this topic and processing/recovering this way. Finally, I am slowly starting to embrace to your attitude too - that my mother is incapable of change, and that she doesn't deserve me.

Martin - denial was pretty much what I got as well when I confronted my mother about the abuse. 'Maternal love' she called it, or she blamed it on me, having been weak and 'needing' affection. I understand from you now that just because I forgive, it doesn't mean that I have to surrender my companionship/time too.

Again, thanks for the responses guys. All the best with your healing.
_________________________
Husky

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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: 586
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.
_________________________
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: 341
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: 586
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

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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: 586
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: 341
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: 586
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

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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: 586
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

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