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#443214 - 08/04/13 11:03 AM What makes a man? For survivors and spouses
lucylives Offline


Registered: 04/07/11
Posts: 359
I have thought a lot about goldstone's post. So as not to hijack it, I am starting a new one.

What makes a man a real man?...What makes a man manly/masculine?

In my opinion:

A real man shares his feelings....hiding your feelings is chicken. It takes courage to be honest about them.

A real man is vulnerable

A real man shares his fears and doesn't deny them or try to numb them

A real man puts his family above all others

A real man is grateful for what he has

A real man accepts imperfection from himself and others

A real man knows how to ask for help and/or what he needs

A real man is affectionate

A real man doesn't blame others for his problems

A real man accepts and appreciates where he is today!

A real man knows all about sports (ok, that is a joke)

Anyone else have any input??????????

Please add your opinions...

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#443243 - 08/04/13 03:13 PM Re: What makes a man? For survivors and spouses [Re: lucylives]
Tyler845 Offline


Registered: 11/04/10
Posts: 276
Loc: U.S.A.
A real Man Follows courage From a Benevolent Heart.

He doesn't let mis-guided opinions of himself, from him or others, stop him from his overall goal. His overall goal, to be a rock of strength for those dear to him. A real man doesn't accept false niceties, or take short cuts to accomplish his goals. He doesn't fold under pressure. His mind as strong as his back, he is a goal every man should reach for.

He's A Protector.

He is Fiercely Just.

He Is Self-Less.

He's Honest. Most Abruptly, With Himself.
_________________________
Most Often, The Child Inside Has Better Access To Execute The Flawless Potential Of Self.

Over-Ride Emotional Conflict With Rational Truths

You Are Freer Than You Think - Paul Berteaux

Come unto Me, all ye that Labor, and are Heavy-ladened. I will give you Rest -Jesus Christ

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#443372 - 08/05/13 01:07 PM Re: What makes a man? For survivors and spouses [Re: lucylives]
HD001 Offline


Registered: 07/30/12
Posts: 256
Loc: us
-He knows when to take the lead and when to let others lead.

-He is always striving to be better and encourages others to do the same

-He isn't afraid to stand up for what he believes in


Edited by HD001 (08/05/13 01:09 PM)
_________________________
Everything comes from within

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#443727 - 08/08/13 09:21 AM Re: What makes a man? For survivors and spouses [Re: lucylives]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1965
Loc: durham, north england
Other than a human with a y chromosome, i really can't think of an answer, since frankly I hate being male. My lack of any relationship or the ability to start one (god women are lucky that they don't have to make the first move), my s/x drive, the way I'm treated if not avoided, the way people think I'm weerd just for being myself and not contsantly drinking alcohol and loving sports, the way I can't have feelings, heck, i wouldn't have been abused if I haven't been male because guess what, girls gang raping a boy is funny, where as anyone messes with a girl people step in (believe me I saw this happen).

The only positive thing I can think of about being male is that I'm a tenor not a soprano, because tenors are much more in demand, ---- other than that, well frankly i wish I was female.

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#444238 - 08/13/13 08:02 PM Re: What makes a man? For survivors and spouses [Re: lucylives]
CruxFidelis Offline


Registered: 06/16/10
Posts: 486
Loc: NJ
Honestly, I am still trying to figure out how to reconcile being raped, and being a man. I had a perfectly fine sense of masculinity before almost 4 years ago when the rape happened and it's called almost every aspect of my identity into question.

To the OP: My wife is always telling me that "real men" talk about their feelings and it's OK. I know she is trying to be affirming and supportive, and I can appreciate her efforts, but to me it does not compute when it comes from her. What would you say if your husband (or any man) told you what being a "real woman" entails? How would that make you feel?

With the exception of some folks here and some therapists, the vast majority of the people who have told me that it's OK to cry, it's OK to have feelings, to go to therapy, and to hurt....are women.
_________________________
“If a man wishes to be sure of the road he treads on, he must close his eyes and walk in the dark.”

- Saint John of the Cross

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#444253 - 08/13/13 10:35 PM Re: What makes a man? For survivors and spouses [Re: lucylives]
lucylives Offline


Registered: 04/07/11
Posts: 359
I don't guess I would like any man telling me what a real woman is unless it was something I struggled with. This is something my husband feels very insecure about ie being vulnerable, having feelings, sharing those feelings and not being able to accept himself. This is my way of saying that having these traits do not make you a p^&&y in my eyes, just the opposite. (the "p" word is him using it not me)

I suppose if I was CONSTANTLY beating myself up because I was not a real woman (in shallow terms like having huge boobs or such) and my husband told me real women have smaller boobs too, it wouldn't bother me. ;0

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#444254 - 08/13/13 10:35 PM Re: What makes a man? For survivors and spouses [Re: lucylives]
lucylives Offline


Registered: 04/07/11
Posts: 359
I would think he was being kind and supportive.......

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#444267 - 08/14/13 02:30 AM Re: What makes a man? For survivors and spouses [Re: lucylives]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1965
Loc: durham, north england
Myself I don't see being told "what a man" does as helping much. Myself I relaly don't care about being a man, it does not define me. I don't like sports or toilet humour, I can converse and I have feelings, so what?

Heck I even enjoy wearing specific clothes, wearing kologne and actually being clean, indeed at the point I had a very long pony tale I was quite careful with my hair just because it was very long and thick and caused trouble if I wasn't. then again I do lift weights and run and have enjoyed cross country skeeing and cycling in the past, albeit I don't have a competitive bone in my body and enjoy these for experience, plus am hugely self crytical.

'm male, so what? it's rather the same way I will tell people "I'm not a blind person I'm a person who happens to be blind" (or at least mostly so).

My problem is that society won't simply treat me as I am. in initiating relationships I'm expected to do all the work, and nobody comes forward, ---- which I have to believe is society rather than just me. I also dislike the way so many people missunderstand that a man could be genophobic, or expect me to find toilet humour funny. iN fairness a friend of mine is exactly the same way, she's got a huge range of masculine characteristics, being very blunt, physicallly active, even physically quite aggressive since she does mixed martial arts and is proud of her strength, she also cares nothing for her apperence and finds herself getitng very pissed off when all women around her want to discuss is diets and fashion.

The problem I tend to find is that where society accepts her as a lovable eccentric, I don't get the same, people still assume I am one way only. This is why I tend to believe that sexism at men is not recognized as it should be, and in fairness also why I hate being male, much less "A man" indeed, if I try to apply the term man to myself it just doesn't sseem to fit, I'm just me, that is that.

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#444269 - 08/14/13 03:17 AM Re: What makes a man? For survivors and spouses [Re: lucylives]
CruxFidelis Offline


Registered: 06/16/10
Posts: 486
Loc: NJ
Originally Posted By: lucylives
I don't guess I would like any man telling me what a real woman is unless it was something I struggled with. This is something my husband feels very insecure about ie being vulnerable, having feelings, sharing those feelings and not being able to accept himself. This is my way of saying that having these traits do not make you a p^&&y in my eyes, just the opposite. (the "p" word is him using it not me)

I suppose if I was CONSTANTLY beating myself up because I was not a real woman (in shallow terms like having huge boobs or such) and my husband told me real women have smaller boobs too, it wouldn't bother me. ;0


I've known several female abuse survivors (and I'm married to one) too...

In general, it seems like a lot of male abuse survivors report feeling like they are less of a man... But I don't hear of too many woman survivors saying they feel like less of a woman. I could be wrong, but that is just what I've read and heard.

Growing up, I had decent parents. They weren't the best, but they weren't the worst, and they did the best they could. I think my father taught me to be a man, but my mom taught me how to be human, if that makes any sense. There were other male role models in my life that were instrumental, and affirmed me in having what it takes to be a man. I'd say that the women I grew up around weren't any less important (and in some ways they were more important) but I didn't look to them the way I looked to men. It wasn't perfect, but I got through with a sense of self, a feeling of security in who I was as a man. I wasn't "macho" or badass but I knew what I was capable of.

I can't tell exactly when my "man card" was ripped off of me but I think it was the moment that he made me cry and I realized it was exactly where he wanted me. It became clear it was his goal to break me and reduce me to tears and that is exactly what happened. I think that is the moment when I lost my sense of manliness. Not the rape itself, but the moment I realized that he was in control of my body and he could do whatever he wanted.

What has really helped me to regain a sense of masculinity is telling other men and receiving affirmation that I am still a man. I told my best friend about a year ago, and while we haven't talked about it since, his continued presence in my life and faithful friendship have been restorative. I cried in front of my parish priest a few months ago, who said "I've cried before, too. We've all done it. No one's judging you." And that helped.

I don't say this to undermine the support you're trying to be to your husband. It sounds like you really care about him a lot, and that has to mean a lot to him. I know personally my wife has been an amazing support to me and I'd be lost without her. sexual assault is a dehumanizing thing, and she is helping me to recognize and reclaim my humanity in all of this. But when it comes to masculinity, I think this is an area where your husband might benefit a LOT from talking about it with other men.


Edited by CruxFidelis (08/14/13 03:20 AM)
_________________________
“If a man wishes to be sure of the road he treads on, he must close his eyes and walk in the dark.”

- Saint John of the Cross

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#444297 - 08/14/13 01:37 PM Re: What makes a man? For survivors and spouses [Re: lucylives]
SoccerStar Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 915
Loc: New York
Quote:
I can't tell exactly when my "man card" was ripped off of me but I think it was the moment that he made me cry and I realized it was exactly where he wanted me. It became clear it was his goal to break me and reduce me to tears and that is exactly what happened. I think that is the moment when I lost my sense of manliness. Not the rape itself, but the moment I realized that he was in control of my body and he could do whatever he wanted.


(((((CF))))) That was heartbreaking to read and so emotionally true. I only hope that your ability to articulate it developed along with putting it in context of a fuller, better life.

Though I was not attacked as an adult, I only gained full recall and emotional impact of the childhood abuse as an adult. So while I know nothing of the sense of being overpowered and victimized as a man per se.... I daresay I do know what it's like to know yourself as Your Self, as the man you've grown to be, one week.... and the next week have that self, that man, utterly demolished, alien, dragged screaming across a human event horizon and the despair of it sinking in that you will never be able to get it back. Re-evaluating an adult life in such shock and agony takes a long, long time and lots of support.

My wife is overall more supportive than not. She's gotten much better in the last few months. But when I tried to raise that exact point to her - of being broken, of being reduced to nothing, of feeling someone else rewire the body into their own strange new horribly revolting plaything - she gave me a blank stare. We tried going over it for DAYS (and I've always hated talking about it with her and always will) and there was no real progress. "What do you mean 'broken'? This happened so long ago - did his dick hurt THAT much?" Eventually I gave up. In a way I'm glad it is beyond her capacity to imagine - for her own sake.

But, yes, men getting permission to cry from women is tricky, because there is no circumstance in which it feels natural for a guy to be in a victim role around a woman with whom he is in a relationship and had previously been very clearly the strong one, the protector. I'm sure anyone (male or female) who had to deal with sudden amputation or paralysis would just as much be horribly self-conscious at being seen as fallen, as less, by their loved ones.

That's why therapists exist - because spouses have been around long enough for people to realize they can't do that job.

Acknowledgment from other men is vital. It's a cliche that has the advantage of being true. I'm in a male survivor support group and it has definitely made an impact (while being frightening in it own way).


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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#444308 - 08/14/13 03:25 PM Re: What makes a man? For survivors and spouses [Re: lucylives]
genedebs Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/09/12
Posts: 285
Loc: MO
Hello Lucy Lives,

I am thankful I do not have to live up to being a "man" in your world or anyone else.

I was physically, sexually, and emotionally abused, the physical abuse began when I was 4, the emotional abuse I was never without it, the sexual abuse began when I was 10. I have not hit anyone in over 40 years. I have acted justly and helped others. I hate to feel vulnerable. I have only accepted that I am human, have always been human, and have no but to be human in the last two years.

Acknowledgement by others tends to be based on what I say and how I perform. I always thought the way you perform is by identifying the role and conforming. I have never considered being "a man" a role worth embracing.

Given my meds, I cannot f , I may be verbally aggressive, but "a man" is supposed to be physically aggressive. I try very hard not to be. I am not A PACIFIST, but I am non-violent. I became committed to non-violence in 1963, shortly after I attended the March on Washington. I am a father of 4 and a grandfather of 5. I was a son and cared for my parents during the last 10 years of their life.

My experience with men is that they are not "a man" either.

We all have different stories and we all are just the same.

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#444320 - 08/14/13 06:42 PM Re: What makes a man? For survivors and spouses [Re: lucylives]
HD001 Offline


Registered: 07/30/12
Posts: 256
Loc: us
well when I read over the list I think the traits describe a nice human. I realize that every culture gives expectations of each gender and those can cause frustration and pain but at the end of the day we are all just humans. We all want love and acceptance. We all want to know that we are good enough. the traits listed are traits I want to foster in myself. It have a lot of work to do and somedays are better than others but I'm realizing the more I love and accept myself the more I feel that way about others. The more I am able to look into the eyes of another and see myself. We are all part of the same struggle the human struggle. The boxes we create and try to put each other in are an illusion. I feel empathy for the struggle of all the people on here and don't want to sound like I am making light or anyones pain or confusion. I realize that feeling like we don't fit into what's expected of us is painful. I think we have all felt it at one time of another to some degree. So no matter where you are at with defining and accepting yourself I want to say its okay and you're doing well. I know I'm a woman but I'm so much more than that I'm a soul and so are you.
_________________________
Everything comes from within

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#444808 - 08/20/13 04:28 PM Re: What makes a man? For survivors and spouses [Re: lucylives]
lucylives Offline


Registered: 04/07/11
Posts: 359
I think some of you have missed the point of my post. The point being that you don't have to fit the stereotype of a man to be a man. the stereotypes are bullshit. I don't look at what makes a man the same way some of you might. I try to dispel the stereotypes for my husband's sake and for any other man who feels the pressure to meet "society's standards' which are pretty f&*ked up and make for some pretty unhealthy thinking, addictions and basically being just plain old stuck.

Maybe some of you men aren't like my husband and feel that he has to be a certain way to feel like a man (probably partly because of being a victim)

Anyway, my point was, to be a man IN MY EYES:

You don't have to have a six pack and be super buff
You can cry and be vulnerable (I actually find vulnerability attractive)
You don't have to protect me....I'm a big girl, I can take care of myself although your support is beyond helpful and desired.
You don't have to have a large p*nis....
You don't have to be a super stud in bed
You don't have to act strong and tough like you have it all together (I know you don't and that is ok, neither do I)
You don't have to make a million bucks a year and drive some fab car
It is ok that you were victimized. It doesn't take away your manhood. Other people can't take that away from you. \
YOU ARE NOT WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU!

So for all of you who think my expectations are too high for you, all I am trying to say it that my husband doesn't have to fit some stereotype to be a man. He just has to be a "human", not some superman.

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#444857 - 08/20/13 09:23 PM Re: What makes a man? For survivors and spouses [Re: lucylives]
CruxFidelis Offline


Registered: 06/16/10
Posts: 486
Loc: NJ
I think some of society's gender expectations are unreasonable and there will always be variation among members of both sexes. Some women are amazing at competing in the workplace and being in leadership roles, some women are happy staying at home with babies and baking pie. Both things are fine, to me. In our house, my wife works and pays all the bills, and when people ask me what I do, I say I'm a stay at home dad. And as much as I'd love to be out there earning a living (and not on disability) there are aspects of being a stay at home dad that I absolutely love, and I have no shame saying that. I feel really lucky that I've been able to be there with my son during such a crucial time. And as much as I feel the urge to be the provider of the family, I am proud of being a stay at home dad (even if I am always the one he wants in the middle of the night). It isn't my ideal (or my wife's ideal, I know her job makes her nuts and she'd much rather hang out with a 3 year old all day), but I think real men make the best out of a sub-optimal situation.

There is an important difference between manliness and machismo, and I think the difference is pride. I'm not talking about self esteem, or being proud of who you are, I'm talking about needing to always be some hypermasculine meat head so you can always one-up everyone around you. And machismo has never been my way--before, or after, the rape. I knew intellectually that I was not going to be my wife's protector, seeing that she is in such great shape from lifting my weakened frame and I'm in a wheelchair. I knew intellectually that being her provider made no sense. I lost my job years ago due to chronic vomiting and my only contribution to the household has been from a few piano students here and there. But the urge to provide and protect is always there, and I don't see it as a bad thing as long as I keep it balanced with the reality of our lives.

Then after the rape happened, I beat myself up like hell about the protector thing. Not only was I not my wife's protector, but I realized I couldn't protect myself. I had no defenses. I also wasn't a scared little kid who can't be held responsible for anything, I was a 27 year old man with all my wits about me. This was not OK, and is still not OK.

As a boy, I dreamed about slaying dragons and rescuing the princess. I slogged through all those 16 bit Super Mario Brothers levels and defeated Bowser for the princess, too. Is it because as men we are conditioned to want this? Or is it because we are wired to want this because it's how the human race has survived for millenia? Me, I think it's a little bit of both. And I see nothing wrong with traditional gender roles. A lot of modern psychologists preach that in order for a man to recover from sexual assault, he has to shed all the 'trappings' of traditional masculinity in order to get there. It's why I don't have any interest in seeing female therapists... because all of them usually approach sexual assault recovery from a feminist perspective, and that's understandable given the character of the sexual assault awareness movement and the groups that tend to run rape crisis centers. And many of them intend to be supportive and I have a lot of respect for that, even if I personally haven't found the therapy to be as therapeutic. For me, I am a man, I was raped by a man, and I don't think I should have to completely change my worldview on gender into some politically correct model to accomplish this.

I always struggle with the paradox of.... how is sitting around talking about my feelings going to make me feel more like a man? What is crying and releasing emotional trauma going to accomplish? Where is the advantage in exposing vulnerability in weakness to another person? My therapist last time actually said "I'm not out there to turn you into some hyperemotional little pansy" which at least validated some of the fears I feel about this. And it has been helpful to expose (maybe not the whole wound) but parts of the wound and receive compassion instead of the judgment and emasculation I expect.
_________________________
“If a man wishes to be sure of the road he treads on, he must close his eyes and walk in the dark.”

- Saint John of the Cross

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#445057 - 08/22/13 01:23 AM Re: What makes a man? For survivors and spouses [Re: lucylives]
Adam A Gedman Offline


Registered: 08/12/13
Posts: 187
Loc: Canada
Hey Lucy,
Thought I'd give my 2 cents as well.
And end with a question.
For the record:
I was raped at 8 yrs old by a stranger, and within months of that, became the scapegoat for my parents lack of supervision of their kids, when my younger brother was hit by a car, then I became my drunken fathers punching bag until I was too old and too big for it to continue.

I try not to let others define who or what I should be. This gives away far too much of my power over myself. Something I not only cherish, but need as a living breathing human being. I lost something of myself, no, I had something of myself taken from me without my consent as a child. So letting someone else define me is verboten.
I think definitions, like those you list are a limiting to people in general. They seem to follow some stereotypical societal hogwash in my opinion. The list seems a little like the ideal guy in an after school TV movie from when i was a kid. Some I agree with, but only in that, I define myself that way.

So, if I don't fit your definitions of what a man should be, by choice or by circumstance, what does that make me?
_________________________
Presence is the key, for all we have is now.
All we ever have is right now.

Formerly Adam A Gedman (AKA - A damAGed man)

But you can call me Kevin

Toronto Mini WoR - May 2014

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#445081 - 08/22/13 08:48 AM Re: What makes a man? For survivors and spouses [Re: lucylives]
lucylives Offline


Registered: 04/07/11
Posts: 359
Somehow something in my posts got lost in translation but that is okay. It is good for people to get this stuff off their shoulders.

Adam, to answer your question.....are you a human being with penis? Then you are a man and don't have to fit society's stereotype of what a man is. that was my point. The macho bullshit that men and society (and sometimes women) try to put on the male gender as what constitutes a man is bullshit in my mind. that was the point of my original post. that is all.

But I am glad I got you all thinking and responding. wink

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#445104 - 08/22/13 11:52 AM Re: What makes a man? For survivors and spouses [Re: lucylives]
FormerTexan Offline
Site Administrator
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 09/12/04
Posts: 11055
Loc: Denver, CO
"The macho bullshit that men and society (and sometimes women) try to put on the male gender as what constitutes a man is bullshit in my mind."

Well-said.
_________________________
List of things ain't nobody got time for:

1. That


If I could meet myself as a boy...

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#445454 - 08/25/13 09:07 PM Re: What makes a man? For survivors and spouses [Re: lucylives]
lucylives Offline


Registered: 04/07/11
Posts: 359
Thanks Texan, I was beginning to think my point wasn't getting across.

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