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#432162 - 04/23/13 12:10 PM Success as a MASK... uh oh
csasurvivor1992 Offline


Registered: 03/25/13
Posts: 132
Loc: Texas
uh oh. think i uncovered something HUGE... potentially life changing. i would like perspective if you can offer it?

so, i was abused by my father, occasionally over six years from 6-12 (as i remember it). thinking back now, without the lens of mind-controlling abuse, i realize that i exhibited many of the symptoms of an abused child (what a relief, i am normal!). I was withdrawn, socially awkward, couldn't focus, bad grades and the like. i made a comment in grade school "i want to take a shower with you" oops... too young for that (but i guess that's never appropriate though). they brought my parents in for that one. "where would you hear something like that?" ummmmmmmmm............mmmmyyyyyyyyy dddddaaaaaaaaaddddd??????? in reality i was saying... HELP ME!!!! but no one knew to look. that just wasn't an option. good looking family, dad a marine. yeah, no one knew, it was unthinkable. HELP ME!!!! nope. so i got in trouble. got a stern talking to. that was in appropriate.

REALLY NOW?! YOU THINK?! What would possess an 8 year old to say those things?!

so i continued in social awkwardness, didn't say anything inappropriate (but i did something though... later), and continued with bad grades. but i had to fight to get any good grade at all.

then, my grades became such an issue (new school, new city... dad was a marine) that my teachers had a parent conference again. the solution? he's just not being challenged enough. WHAT THE FUCK?!? REALLY?! okay. so the solution is to challenge the kiddo... AP classes for him.

so i'm subconsciously crying for help and they're telling me to try harder and perform better. um, okay. i guess.

so i did. huge turnaround. the abuse stopped around that time. not really sure why. maybe i don't remember it, but i think it stopped then. before high school.

got good grades, went to a good college (was told to do those things, so i did).

now i'm out of all of that, on my own, ostensibly. thousands of miles from my mom, who didn't recognize and light years away from my fuck up father mentally (he may actually be physically close, but i don't give two shits).

am i successful because my cries out for help went unheard? and if so, how the HELL to i begin to separate those two???? i feel like i'll never escape that shit... that my abuse has caused all of this and i can't change it. getting up and going to work and trying hard reminds me that i am a survivor of abuse... i hate being a survivor. i wish this never happened, but it did. so there it is.

how do i separate being successful for me from being successful because being a victim wasn't acceptable?
_________________________
May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground, carry on. ~Fun.

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#432163 - 04/23/13 12:14 PM Re: Success as a MASK... uh oh [Re: csasurvivor1992]
csasurvivor1992 Offline


Registered: 03/25/13
Posts: 132
Loc: Texas
oh... the other thing i "did"... i changed into my bathing suit in front of a pretty girl in our lawn-chair fort. huge crush on her. she was beautiful to me... looked like alyssa milano. so when you like someone, you do naked things with them, right?

another stern talking to... even a butt whooping i think.

damn... no one's fucking listening.

i'm a cold, wet, naked, crying boy and everyone keeps passing me by. i need someone to take me out of the rain, dry me off, wipe my tears, clothe me, and hold me. no one sees me.
_________________________
May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground, carry on. ~Fun.

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#432168 - 04/23/13 01:00 PM Re: Success as a MASK... uh oh [Re: csasurvivor1992]
Suwanee Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/30/12
Posts: 745
Loc: Southeast USA
CSA Survivor...

I can identify with your struggle. After my incident, I lashed out at everybody...family, friends...because I was so embarrassed and pissed off. My parents couldn't read my mind...and I wasn't about to tell them. That spot is not very comfortable...hence the acting out. I just wanted them to look at me and see it on my face so I didn't have to tell. It never happened...they thought my behavior was because of a recent move. I went from an A student to an in-school detention regular in the 8th grade. If somebody tried to pick a fight with me, I made sure I finished it. I was average in build, but that didn't stop me from standing up against bigger kids.

That situation didn't sit well with my parents. We had a sit down conference one evening and I was reminded that I could do better...in no uncertain terms...more was expected. I entered boarding school and found my niche...and began putting bricks and more bricks down to wall off what happened. I played baseball, I swam competitively, I backpacked and sailed. Eventually I did go to a good college. I suppose I'm successful today partly because of what I started doing at 14.

You seem to have a similar response. Like me, you are questioning how you coped and how to reconcile "then" with "now." I wrestled with that very publicly on MS. I finally realized that we...the child and adult find tools for the task of coping. I don't want to trivialize it at all...but in my case, doing just that helped.
In time, I began to see CSA and recovery as a 1990s vintage Nintendo game.

We all know the basic script. At the beginning, you are given a task and rudimentary tools to complete the task---which is a step toward an ultimate goal. Along the way, you advance levels after conquering one foe or another. You gain new tools and skills...which you find are essential as the levels get more complex.

Acting out was a tool with limited usefulness...but it helped at one time. Achievement...academically, athletically, professional or otherwise is another tool...albeit one with greater usefulness---and application outside of CSA.

Maturity...being circumspect...come with time. This is an extremely valuable tool. You are beginning to use this. Clumsy, awkward...that's how I felt when it was handed to me last year. In time you, learn how to use it to your advantage...

I think you are on the right track. CSA is but one fiber woven into our being. The other accomplishments you can point to are proof that you consist of much, much more.

In closing, I led a group of people on a kayaking trip in grad school. I organized everything so I became the de facto leader...and the others started depending on me. One cold damp night after a storm, I gathered downed wood for a bonfire while the others wandered around. I worked and worked to get the damp wood to light. I finally gave in and shaved strips of magnesium from a firestarter block. I also dumped a pint of Coleman fuel on the brush and got a fire going. The others came back and were thrilled we had a nice big fire. No one cared or worried how I did it, they just appreciated its heat and light. You went through plenty to get your fire burning. Enjoy its heat and light. Enjoy your successes.

Will
_________________________
Cruel Summer
My Journal

-Signs and traces left in stone
Ruins of a past unknown-

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#444622 - 08/18/13 07:06 PM Re: Success as a MASK... uh oh [Re: csasurvivor1992]
concerned_husky Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/29/12
Posts: 601
I don't know why but this thread has kind of triggered me and left me with mixed feelings. I can relate to so much of this - this urge for success to cover up all the bullshit that went on at home, with one huge exception: I ran out of steam between the 'good college' step and the 'good job' step. I started 'dealing' with my abuse when I was in college, having somehow gotten into psychology (probably as a run-off on trying to deal with addictions), and having that "Oh it was wrong?" realization - reading this thread has got me thinking maybe it was too early. Maybe it would've been better if I had still gone on thinking nothing was wrong until I got a job and a more stable life, I don't know. The fire was nice, until it started pouring; but now the storm seems to have passed, I'm looking around for some tinder and matches.
_________________________
Husky

My Story

Growing up isn't about losing innocence - it's about learning how to keep it in a cold and unforgiving world.

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#444626 - 08/18/13 08:01 PM Re: Success as a MASK... uh oh [Re: csasurvivor1992]
Publius Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/13/12
Posts: 404
Loc: OH
"Corruptio Optima Pessima" or "corruption of the best is the worst." Unfortunately, we survivors not only have a wide variety of masks but we play the parts extremely well. Sex, drugs, sports, success, and so many other wonderful things in life are marred by our sexual abuse. Instead of being an enjoyable aspect of our lives they can become a chore or an all around frightening prospect. Thus, some of the best things become some of the worst things while the worst things remain as a confirmation of our supposedly dark reality.

Concerned_Husky I am upset as well. Words fail me in expressing the level of anger I feel for what was taken from all of us and how it was replaced like gold with lead. However, csasurvivor1992 I do believe the answer lies in recovery. In particular, I think enough time spent in therapy, in reflection, and most of all still doing the good things for ourselves (sports, exercise, reading, hanging out, etc.) the guilt, shame, and sense of personal insincerity fade away as does the belief that these masks in our lives our merely a facade. After awhile, we begin to actually feel good about the things we deserve to feel good about. Our thoughts and feelings start working together once again and instead of cognitive dissonance we get a fresh breathe of personal understanding if not internal harmony. I'll leave you with a phrase I think best describes the self-realization/self-actualization I am clumsily trying to communicate:

"We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time."

~ T.S. Elliot
_________________________
"Life is like this dark tunnel. You may not always see the light at the end of the tunnel, but if you keep moving, you will come to a better place." ~ General Iroh

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