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#444034 - 08/11/13 02:15 PM Telling Others about the abuse.
Rich1967 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/17/13
Posts: 289
Loc: PA
Last night my wife and I went out with some "friends" to dinner and I told them about my abuse and how it's been affecting us over the last year. I put friends in quotes because I truly feel like I have very few friends and for the longest time no friends other than my wife. I faked having friends - it was all an act. Whenever I was forced to act as a friend I tried to limit the frequency and durations as much as possible (have to take care of the kids, work, etc.). No contact with others, then no chance of being betrayed and hurt. I looked forward to having dinner with this couple all day. I was not nervous about it and never even looked at the clock the whole time and the conversation was very nice (no awkward silences). On the way home I told them about the abuse and some of the struggles that my wife and I have been going through in the last year. I was a little nervous to start, but once I started it just came out and I didn't cry or get too emotional. I also was there emotionally. I will actually remember having the conversation :-) The awkward silence that followed was... Just kidding. They were very cool about hearing it and being supportive with statements like thanks for honoring us by letting us know, if there's anything we can do to help, etc. They really are our friends now.

This couple and one other we have told we see twice a month in a class and we're thinking about telling the other couples over time as well. It feels like I have 4 people that I can be ME with now. A year ago I almost stopped going to the class because I couldn't be the fake me anymore. I don't feel that strongly about it now, but it does feel really good to have people know who I can be a little bit more real with.

We also have told other close family members. Some of which have been very supportive. Only one relationship has been negatively affected and that was with my mom. I don't talk to her or the abuser she married anymore. No other relationships seemed to have been negatively affected by being told.

So, does any of the acting fake stuff resonate with others? Did you tell others to feel more real with them? Did anyone have a very negative reaction? Does anyone think we should keep this kind of stuff quiet?

I really want to be way more open about what happened to me in the hopes that it will give someone courage to speak up. I just feel like the shame keeps so many of us silent and alone to the grave. I want to where a t-shirt that says I'm one of the 1 in 6 with links to this site or the 1in6.org site. Subtle, but maybe enough to have someone look it up on the web and then reach out for help.

Is anyone really open about the abuse in their past and what's that been like?


Edited by Rich1967 (08/12/13 02:28 PM)
_________________________
Rich

"Me too" - I don't think I will ever get tired of saying or hearing these two words.

My Story:
http://www.malesurvivor.org/board/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=441625#Post441625

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#444036 - 08/11/13 03:30 PM Re: Telling Others about the abuse. [Re: Rich1967]
newground Offline
Chatroom Moderator
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 10/11/11
Posts: 814
Loc: michigan
hey rich
I have to say that part of my coming to MS was to try to find some way of being "real" I had told some about parts of the abuse and it was fairly common knowledge among a certain group of "friends" other "friends" knew nothing about it and I very much preferred it that way and there was still so much that no one knew at all! as it is now I am much more open thanks to MS and the WoRs and due in large part to the guys here on the site. once I found that I was not alone or crazy I was able to begin to slowly let more be known and it continues to be a trip. for the most part people are kind and accepting but there is a lot in me that rejects peoples compassion as an attempt to get near me or it leaves me feeling "broken and weak" which I cannot bear so short answer is yea I am open way more than ever but It does cost me and I am working through that best I can
be well
Jeff
_________________________
Either I will find a way, or I will make one.
Philip Sidney

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#444037 - 08/11/13 04:13 PM Re: Telling Others about the abuse. [Re: Rich1967]
king tut Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/13/08
Posts: 2469
Loc: UK
At first I felt I wanted other people to know, and I think the people I needed to know in the end I did tell. Some reacted, some didn't. Some will continue to pretend they don't know. I remember it being good to get it out there.

Now, I just don't have any reason to tell people about it or want to. I've even had full blown conversations with people about abuse and various issues, and haven't revealed that I myself was abused, not because I would be afraid to, but just because I don't owe that information to anyone, and wouldn't want to make the conversation all about me.

In some conversations I've had about abuse other people in the conversation try to use their knowledge or experience of abuse, or people they knew who were abused, to get a one-upmanship in the conversation, and I've never felt the need to reveal to people like that that I was abused.

I guess I always think about why I would want to reveal that I was abused to most people- the majority of the people in the world, no, there would be nothing in it for me to tell them that I was abused, I don't need sympathy, or to use it as an excuse for anything.

In my interactions with people I am pretty real without telling them I was abused, I don't feel like i'm faking anything by not revealing it, because abuse doesn't define a person, just because you were abused doesn't mean you need to reveal it to the whole world to feel like yourself, at least I don't think so.
_________________________
"...until lambs become lions"

I love you, little lewis, and i will never leave you. We are the same. You brighten my day, and i will make sure that i brighten yours. Hugs and kisses.


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#444063 - 08/11/13 09:49 PM Re: Telling Others about the abuse. [Re: Rich1967]
unhappycamper Offline


Registered: 10/21/11
Posts: 624
Loc: VA
When the dam broke and my FBs started, it was a relief to tell family and friends. i had to tell my boss why I needed to take 6 weeks off, but fortunately I'd known him long enough that telling him wasn't a problem. I told whoever it felt right to tell, and probably a few others I didn't need to tell. I stopped telling when it stopped feeling good to tell. I told my children after a few years, when I thought they were old enough to understand what I was talking about. Of course, by the 1990s the schools had started teaching kids about "bad touch" from the earliest years, so that helped.

these days I don't mention it much, even when child abuse is the topic at hand. My story is old hat, and it seems like I'm back in the who-gives-a-damn days... like the 1950s, when "it" happened.

But telling definitely helps, when the time (and the listener) are right.

John

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#444162 - 08/13/13 12:43 AM Re: Telling Others about the abuse. [Re: Rich1967]
Rich1967 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/17/13
Posts: 289
Loc: PA
Guys, thanks for your stories. It helps give me the perspective that I sometimes lack when I hear them.

I think the feeling fake for me is with the people I've spent the last 25 years with in my very close knit community that I sometimes work with as well as socialize with. I feel like with them I need to tell them to be the real me in some ways. I've known some of these people for decades and yet don't really know them but now want to. How do you change a cold distant relationship that's been so establish for so many years?

I think with people I am just meeting or haven't known for too long it's a different story. The need to tell is not so great or none at all.

So far for me telling has been a very empowering experience for the most part. Each time I tell it I feel more on top of it. I own it more and it owns me less. Don't know if that makes sense? I am who I am because of the abuse. I like who I am and the abuse was a big factor in who I am today.

Why do I want to be more open about it? To help others who suffer in silence like I did for so long.

I was hoping someone else out there felt the same way about being VERY OPEN with their abuse or was very open and willing to talk to anyone that asked.
_________________________
Rich

"Me too" - I don't think I will ever get tired of saying or hearing these two words.

My Story:
http://www.malesurvivor.org/board/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=441625#Post441625

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#444197 - 08/13/13 11:27 AM Re: Telling Others about the abuse. [Re: Rich1967]
Chase Eric Offline
Moderator
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 1488
Originally Posted By: My good friend Rich, with punctuative emphasis added by me
Did you tell others to feel more real with them? .... I really want to be way more open about what happened to me in the hopes that it will give someone courage to speak up. I just feel like the shame keeps so many of us silent and alone to the grave. I want to where a t-shirt that says I'm one of the 1 in 6 ...

Is anyone really open about the abuse in their past and what's that been like?

This is a topic that has me torn, quite frankly. My initial inclination is to keep the whole mess to myself. For the years my abuse went on, it was a closely guarded secret, a closely guarded shame. I got really good at keeping it. Really good. My whole "normal" growing up was about secrets. And that is the biggest thing about this site - that I can finally open up about it, albeit in the relative safety of a virtual world of true survivors. MS offers a valuable opportunity. I don't think I could be so open and frank in any other venue. It's all about coming into a place and hearing those magical words...


...................................Me, too.



That magic does not happen when I share in the real world with people who don't really have a clue, however. And while busting down the door and bringing light to the secrets helps to kill the shame, it also carries the risk of vulnerability, fielding the quizzical looks and unspoken confusions of those who just don't know. That can feed directly into everything I feared as a kid. So I am very selective outside MS.

Thank God for MS...

But I have my sister. She was a co-victim. And sharing with her ultimately was like MS on steroids. We were perfectly in sync emotionally, and from that we both derived that "me, too" emotional resonance.

As I progress, I see that the real crime was not so much the sex as the secrecy - the silence. The lines that separate my virtual life at MS and my "real" life - the life that flows through my fingers as I click the keys right now - blurs more as time passes. Ultimately, the fullest person I can be is that fully merged person, and I know that is where I am heading. But it is not a simple process. My molester split me up in so many ways. I have been on my knees looking for the pieces of my life ever since.

X-ray vision, Rich. Maybe that's what we seek. That moment when we can look into the eyes of another and know instantly, without words, that they truly, deeply understand, that maybe they have been there themselves. It is finding a place where we can discriminate genuine connections from well-meaning platitudes.

I suspect like anything so wonderful, it is not a common place to find. And that is important to know.
_________________________
Eirik




Click my pic to see why I'm here

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#444204 - 08/13/13 12:59 PM Re: Telling Others about the abuse. [Re: Chase Eric]
Jay1946 Offline


Registered: 08/08/13
Posts: 100
Loc: Miami, Florida, USA
Originally Posted By: Chase Eric
That magic does not happen when I share in the real world with people who don't really have a clue, however. And while busting down the door and bringing light to the secrets helps to kill the shame, it also carries the risk of vulnerability, fielding the quizzical looks and unspoken confusions of those who just don't know. That can feed directly into everything I feared as a kid. So I am very selective outside MS.


Eric:

I'm also very guarded as to who I share my memories of csa with, for exactly the same reasons you have. Nevertheless I have shared with my wife, my Therapist, and a couple of my male friends in a 12 Step group (one of which is a survivor). They all have helped me shed light on the memories and made valuable contributions to my understanding of the role csa has played in driving my compulsions.

Because my csa was done by a male teacher and not a family member, I don't have the fears of disclosure I would have had, had it been otherwise. My family of origin is a very important source of love for me, and I would not have wanted to place that at risk.
_________________________
Jay

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#444206 - 08/13/13 01:23 PM Re: Telling Others about the abuse. [Re: Rich1967]
concerned_husky Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/29/12
Posts: 605
There was a phase a few years back, when I was quite open about my abuse. At the time, I thought that opening up about it and letting others know would make me 'whole' again. There are about seven or eight people who know about it - and really when it comes down to it, I should've only told one or two.

More or less in chronological order:
- When I was about 22/23, to two good friends; I at times regret telling one of them because I don't think I really got the compassion/empathy/support I craved in disclosing. The other really changed my life through his support.
- Around the same time, to my ex-gf, who told me she thought all of my mother's behavior was perfectly normal mother-son interaction. I must've been out of my mind at that time, but we didn't break up for this reason (she made me think I was to become a father...)
- A group of 'friends' who I don't talk to anymore (from a gambling group), about four of them.
- Another two friends more recently, part of a younger group of guys I hang out with - they ended up sharing some of their inner secrets too, so I felt it really cemented our friendship.

So...from my experience, it's hit and miss. It either makes you feel vulnerable, and (for lack of a better word) shitty, because you've given someone a really treasured and guarded piece of your soul and their response fell short of what you were hoping for. On the other hand, it CAN make you whole, because while they do know your secret, they don't reject you, they know you're much more than just a 'survivor' and they keep in mind who you are as a whole person. In other words, they don't judge you and define you by your CSA.

These days, I do sometimes get the urge to disclose and engage someone in my pity-party, but I largely refrain. In some ways, I like the fact that CSA and my past have nothing to do with some of the friendships I have, because it keeps me in touch with what could've been, what I missed out - and more importantly, it lets me actually EXPERIENCE being an innocent boy again. Is the happiness an illusion? Perhaps. But I think it's an illusion I deserve to experience having dealt with this crap for so long. When I think back on it now, I think the main thing for me is that if I'm to disclose, that person and I must share something - a connection - that is NOT based on mutual misery and pessimism. He (or she - yikes!) has to be, to the best of my knowledge, able to withstand the pressure/burden of knowing that secret, to lift me up when I need it, and not to forget all of the other things that make me, well, me. In a nutshell, I've set the bar higher.
_________________________
Husky

My Story

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#444209 - 08/13/13 02:13 PM Re: Telling Others about the abuse. [Re: Rich1967]
DavoSwim Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/06/13
Posts: 336
Loc: Iowa, USA
Rich,

I lived in shame for over 40 years. I was metaphorically looking over my shoulder during that time, being careful to hide my tracks, cover up my actions,and compose alibis, so that my story would remain a secret. I wanted no one to know my story. I was embarrassed, ashamed and guilty. I blamed myself and thought others would blame me too for what happened. I felt I was the only one that this had happened to, even though I knew that wasn't the case. Garnering the strength to talk to a therapist was a big step.

After I told my story for the first time, it was like the dam broke. I wanted to tell everyone that I had been abused and was a survivor. Fortunately, my T advised me to hold off and think about who I told, and more importantly think about why I wanted to tell them my story. He gave me several reasons why I should and shouldn't tell people.

That was really good advice. I did start with telling my family. Their reactions were equivocal - some were understanding and supportive, and others weren't. Some family members offered good advice and words of comfort and others thought of only how this knowledge affected them. Basically, they were all over the place with their reactions, and when I reflect on that, I realize that such responses are to be expected.

I've told a few other people outside my family and they were very supportive. Of course they were people I've known for a long period of time and who I knew I could trust with this information.

I realize I have vacillated between both extremes and have currently settled in the middle. I'm not embarrassed to tell my story, but I don't think it's always appropriate. I try and treat it like anything else in my life. I actually keep most things to myself anyway, and so I don't feel bad about keeping quiet on this issue. There have been times when the issue of abuse has come up in conversation, and then I make sure that I offer my opinion. If prompted, I'll say my experience as a CSA survivor does give me a perspective that somewhat who hasn't been abused can't have.

I think that this is a highly personal issue. I generally don't talk about personal issues, so this is consistent with that. In addition, most people don't have experience themselves in this area, and so I need to be aware of that when talking about it. I also need to ask what I'm seeking in telling my story - is it acceptance, sympathy, or the opportunity to educate someone else?

Lastly, the decision to tell is a personal matter. There is no universal truth that applies to everyone. We all must determine for ourselves how much we want to reveal.

Thanks

DavO

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#444291 - 08/14/13 12:44 PM Re: Telling Others about the abuse. [Re: Rich1967]
Rich1967 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/17/13
Posts: 289
Loc: PA
Awesome input from all - thank you!

Eirik - thanks. I consider you my good friend as well. X-ray vision would be nice.

Well, I won't be wearing a t-shirts with any abuse logos anytime soon and not from what's been said. I'm not ready yet and when I am who knows what I'll want to do then. I do know that I have a strong desire to help others with the issues we CSA face. I will find ways to help.

In the meantime I think I will continue to tell others when it feels right. Telling others that i've known for a long time feels right regardless of how they take it. It's helped me be more open with these people in a way I couldn't before.

The abuse has probably had the biggest impact on my life to date. I am who I am in part because it. I have some pretty nice qualities about myself because of it. I won't run from it anymore.

Oh, and I love all of you guys!
_________________________
Rich

"Me too" - I don't think I will ever get tired of saying or hearing these two words.

My Story:
http://www.malesurvivor.org/board/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=441625#Post441625

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