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#440713 - 07/12/13 09:50 AM First time at a support group
SoccerStar Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 915
Loc: New York
Earlier this week I attended a support group meeting for male survivors.

I feel very lucky to have this resource available to me and am profoundly grateful to those who took an active role and did all the heavy lifting in getting the group off the ground. You probably could not ask for a kinder, more... well... SUPPORTIVE atmosphere.

But for my part.... I was scared shitless. It was very very different from therapy. Over the years I've had 4 therapists and 2 psychiatrists (nearly all of them a waste of time since I didn't deal with the elephant in the room) so I'm kind of used to those surroundings. Ever since I started dealing with my CSA I've slowly been telling various people who are very close to me. In every single instance it seemed empowering in a way, because I was in control of the story and setting and because, without exception, every time the person or people I told said they had no idea it had ever happened and they couldn't "see it on me." I had an intense phobia over that - the memories woke up so suddenly and so violently, it really felt like my entire persona was replaced by someone else, and if you feel that different how can you not LOOK different? If all you feel is a polluted victim through and through how can people NOT see it? But they never did - not my parents, my friends, nobody.

But when you go to a support group for this bullshit.... they DO know and they CAN see it. There's no surprise, there's no "normal-you" they knew beforehand. As soon as you walk in that door, as soon as they see you, THEY KNOW. OTHER MEN KNOW. It is WRITTEN ALL OVER YOU, you are TRANSPARENT. They don't know the details but they know you got it one way or another, because you're there. In no way was I prepared for the intensity of the fear that hit me when I was in a circumstance where total strangers could take one look at me and know that I had been abused. It's ironic, it's supposed to be a healing circumstance but in a way it brought my worst fear to life.

I was not myself during the meeting at all. I know I spoke about as much as the other guys but damned if I remember even 2 sentences of what I said. I was hugging myself and shaking. My stutter came back - from the VERY EARLIEST WEEKS of dealing in therapy. I don't know if the others noticed but I noticed. Hope I didn't come across as pathetic.

Where does this shit end? When do you stop getting NEW EFFECTS of things that happened so many years ago? Am I doing something wrong by not feeling better from this medium?


Matt
_________________________
My story

"Don't think it hasn't been a little slice of heaven just because it hasn't!" --Bugs Bunny

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#440719 - 07/12/13 11:14 AM Re: First time at a support group [Re: SoccerStar]
traveler Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3210
Loc: back in the USA
hey, Matt!

i have never been to a support group - but hope to have that opportunity before too long. i do understand the fear - and the feeling of exposure and vulnerability - i feel that just thinking about it.

will you go back? do you think the pros outweigh the cons? do you feel like you need to give it another chance? or was it too hard?

one thing i think i get is why you felt like you were regressing: it seems to me that every time we reveal, we go back and re-experience the event in a fresh way. the reactions we have may be the same as before - or may present in new ways - especially if you have made progress in dealing with some of the old coping tactics or symptoms.

another thing i can attest to is that - it usually feels worse before it feels better - that happened to me with the T - and with participating on MS forums - and with revealing to each of the few individuals that i have told. my gentle suggestion is - give it time, see what may develop, try again and wait for progress.

lee


Edited by traveler (07/12/13 11:16 AM)
_________________________
We are often troubled, but not crushed;
sometimes in doubt, but never in despair;
there are many enemies, but we are never without a friend;
and though badly hurt at times, we are not destroyed.
- Paul, II Cor 4:8-9

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#440722 - 07/12/13 12:59 PM Re: First time at a support group [Re: SoccerStar]
bodyguard8367 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/16/12
Posts: 1159
Loc: ""
""


Edited by bodyguard8367 (02/27/14 05:31 PM)

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#440736 - 07/12/13 04:03 PM Re: First time at a support group [Re: SoccerStar]
peroperic2009 Offline
Moderator
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/09/11
Posts: 3566
Loc: South-East Europe
Hey Matt, I'm sure it will get better with time.
It is difficult for the first time as we all are feeling exposed I guess and it can be scary. Be sure that you weren't pathetic.
I was only couple of times in group and it was terrible good when mutual dynamics was set meaning that we knew for each others vulnerabilities. For me it was like I found new brothers/sisters (it was mixed group). There were many tears and very intensive emotions at beginning. I was a little bit worried expecting the worst for next couple of times but I was wrong. With time I get used to people and I have had feeling of security and support. Like sort of "family". I wasn't the only one feeling like that.
So be patient and give yourself some time.

Pero
_________________________
My story

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#440757 - 07/13/13 12:54 AM Re: First time at a support group [Re: SoccerStar]
SoccerStar Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 915
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Traveler
will you go back? do you think the pros outweigh the cons? do you feel like you need to give it another chance? or was it too hard?


Yes, yes, yes, and yes. It was really, really hard. But I'm not going to up and abandon it - I do believe it can help, and I have to hope that the intensity of the fear I felt was partly "first meeting jitters" and will fade. I mean, the other guys could do it!


Pero - thanks for being a voice of experience about support groups. You do make it sound really worthwhile and I'm sure I'll stick with it.


And Geoff - all I can say regarding your "lies and courage" examples is.... thank you. It was exactly what I needed to hear. It's uncanny how much it reflected the way I really felt / feel, and I have to believe that I can move through it the way you described. I have plenty of fear issues that I can't control or only barely just; but with something like this, seen the way you describe I have to believe it's possible to overcome some of them. Again thank you. I'm not expressing myself very well here, I get emotionally exhausted just thinking about it. But you really helped me.


Matt
_________________________
My story

"Don't think it hasn't been a little slice of heaven just because it hasn't!" --Bugs Bunny

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#440769 - 07/13/13 08:44 AM Re: First time at a support group [Re: SoccerStar]
traveler Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3210
Loc: back in the USA
i'm proud of you, Matt!

i loved seeing all those "yes" answers lined up.

it actually choked me up.

you are doing well.
_________________________
We are often troubled, but not crushed;
sometimes in doubt, but never in despair;
there are many enemies, but we are never without a friend;
and though badly hurt at times, we are not destroyed.
- Paul, II Cor 4:8-9

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#440771 - 07/13/13 09:57 AM Re: First time at a support group [Re: SoccerStar]
KMCINVA Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1444
Matt

I attend support groups regularly. At first I was apprehensive about entering and when I saw the people I felt somewhat intimidated. I was welcomed and basically listened the first session. I was taken back, because I could see me in their words. After a few meetings I began to talk-like you I sometimes felt as though I was rambling and making little sense. Once I began to speak I began to feel some relief and I did not see myself as an outsider to the group, but rather as one of them--trying to heal and regain my life.

It does get better, talking about the abuse was therapeutic for me, but only you will be able to tell if your group is the right forum. I believe most survivors do not see another survivor as damaged goods but rather as a valuable human being. I wish you well.

Kevin

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#440774 - 07/13/13 11:01 AM Re: First time at a support group [Re: SoccerStar]
BraveFalcon Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/25/13
Posts: 1048
Loc: The ATL

Hi Matt. Wow, congrats on taking this huge step. I'm glad to hear you'll be going back. I almost went to a support group once back when I was in therapy but it didn't work out. To get into the support group I first had to have a session with the T who ran it and he determined that I was not ready for it. I was actually quite relieved when I found that out, as I was getting cold feet on the whole thing anyway. After joining MS, I actually found out that the T I had that session with, over 18 years ago, is one of the guys who facilitates WOR here, Jim Struve. Small world, huh?

Any of you guys who do group stuff I am impressed by. I honestly can't see myself ever doing that in person. MS is one thing, but it's a hell of a lot easier to type these things out and click "submit" than it is to actually say them in a room full of people. In a way, my fear of a live group situation is actually the exact opposite of yours. I actually would honestly be more comfortable if the other guys in the room could "see it on me". My fear is more that I would walk into the group and the other guys there would think, "this guy doesn't look sexually damaged", as silly as that may sound. Or even more so that I would tell my story and that the other guys would think... "That's not so bad. You were hardly abused. You have no right to call yourself damaged or call yourself a survivor. You aren't one of us. Get the fuck out of here." If they could just look at me and "see it on me", it would feel much less intimidating and I'd have a lot less explaining to do. That may not make any sense to anyone but me.

I really am happy to hear that you've gotten into a live group situation, Matt. I hope you find it to be a helpful and healing thing and I hope you will share any progress you make through this group with us. Take care. Peace,

Ken

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#440995 - 07/16/13 01:24 AM Re: First time at a support group [Re: SoccerStar]
focusedbody Offline


Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 272
Loc: NY
Matt:

Your courage in going is truly admirable and inspiring. Thanks for writing about what it was like.

When I think of how many times I've probably been in situations with men who were abused and nothing was being said, I kinda go comatose. That was probably happening during important years of my life, and yet nothing was spoken. It may have led to a lot of misconnections with other men because there were so many times when I thought I had support, but could never really feel it.

Hope this new part of your recovery process helps you experience healing and strength.

FB
_________________________
Lose the drama; life is a poem.

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