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#446491 - 09/05/13 10:47 AM what the pictures mean
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3517
Loc: somewhere in Africa
i already told about how i found and looked through a ton of old photos from my mom's stuff. at first i was so focused on the actual images - the content of the photos - that it was all i could think about. but after i sorted through them and picked out the ones i wanted to keep, there were some other thoughts that occurred to me.

the first was that - i had been robbed - of my own past. the family context that i was born into had been stripped away from me and locked in a box for decades. there were pictures there that i had never seen - of myself as a baby and toddler - of myself with my real father (who died days before my 3rd birthday) - of myself with BOTH parents. i now have a meager collection of 3 photos with my father and my mother - little 3-inch-square black and white poorly focused snapshots - something i had NEVER seen before! it would have meant so much as i was growing up to have had even one of those. i always felt rootless and as if i did not belong. when the step-dad entered our lives (i was 5 1/2) he made sure that we had very little contact with my father's family. my grandparents visited us several times - but we did not go to see them. i was alone and lonely - disconnected and isolated - and didn't know who i was or where i had come from. i know that this sense of insignificance and insecurity contributed in a major way to my vulnerability to abuse.

the next thing that i realized was that my wife and i had tried really hard to stay connected to the rest of the family in the only way we knew how. there were hundreds of photos that we had sent them through the years - of us and especially our kids. we had always lived a long distance away - but kept in touch by letters and pictures - but it was a one-way street. we would make periodic visit to them - but they came to see us only 3 times in 15 years - and 2 of those were when 2 of our babies were born. i don't understand why and how mom could do that - just cut me off as if i didn't matter - like i didn't exist - like the only ones of value were her 2nd family.

what was worse - was that the letters and photos were never acknowledged. we would get christmas gifts in the mail - and birthday cards sometimes - and invariably late - sometimes as much as 6 months after the dates. hardly ever a letter. my half-brothers and their children - who lived nearby - and were the biological children of both mom and step-dad - got all the attention.

guess i am having a pity party - and i don't know what i hope to gain from venting on this topic - but we have just moved - and i don't really know anybody else in this town that i can talk to. so i am sitting in a coffee shop - our internet is not yet connected at the house - and once again wishing that so many things had been different. one of these days i'll post some of those photos.
_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago


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#446501 - 09/05/13 11:44 AM Re: what the pictures mean [Re: traveler]
focusedbody Offline


Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 374
Loc: NY
Lee:

It makes sense for you to have this reminiscence now as you move and settle somewhere new. The good part of it is that you are getting back in touch with the vulnerability, which I would think is hard but also important. I think as young boys we were always looking for what would help us grow, even if not all of them occurred.

Thank you for being a reminder of family connections. I have been in and been close to others' disruptions. Too often the impulse to run leads to fractures later on. Acknowledging the hurt seems to be a first step to being open to whatever else needs to happen. Hopefully you will come to a place of where the meaning of what happened will give you more peace in the present.

Oh, and BTW, coffee shops are good places for pity parties. Glad you have one.

FB
_________________________
Lose the drama; life is a poem.

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#446505 - 09/05/13 12:08 PM Re: what the pictures mean [Re: traveler]
DavoSwim Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

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

You've done the right thing is posting it here. It's not just venting. Organizing your thoughts and composing an essay like you've done helps you understand what you think and feel on this issue. You've done a great job in expressing yourself and where you stand on this. I'm so sorry that you had to encounter this . Feeling a connection to our family , understanding where we came from and how we got to where we are today, helps ground us and helps us understand ourselves better. I wish you well. This is just another step on the journey to happiness.

DavO

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#446508 - 09/05/13 12:48 PM Re: what the pictures mean [Re: traveler]
Rich1967 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/17/13
Posts: 289
Loc: PA
Lee,

Moving can be stressful and then finding those pictures...you came to the right place though to express your feelings as you will find many a sympathetic ear here as you know. Sorry about the lost family connections.

My wife and I (much more my wife) worked hard to include my parents in the lives of our kids and often got the same response you have described. My brother's family didn't reach out nearly as much and my parents spent more time trying to connect with them than with us. After disclosing my abuse to the family it turns out that my brother's family didn't even like them much.

At least you made the effort like I did - that's all we can do and it's up to them to respond or not. Hard to understand it though when they don't.

Good luck with getting settled in.
_________________________
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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#446527 - 09/05/13 08:10 PM Re: what the pictures mean [Re: traveler]
ThisMan Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/22/13
Posts: 767
Loc: upper south
Lee, its always okay to share things of the heart. It seems we both may be somewhere in the same chapter in reading our life. As I posted in the member section, I am trying to understand and come to terms with my position in the family as you speak. One brother and I were talking and he detailed out some big event that my dad was involved in with us, and I could not recall it. I remember the story, but couldn't recall Dad's involvement.

I have said before on MS, I have for whatever reason blocked out large chunks of my life from my childhood. I know there is a reason. I encountered a lot of those reasons last week when I was with them at the hospital.

It okay to be angry or frustrated with the way your mom and others failed to show you the necessary love. It is okay to be angry because she should have given you the pictures of you and your dad and mom years and years ago. They would have given you great comfort.

Now you have them. Frame them. Do as I did when I discovered the avatar pic I used for a while... sleep with them nearby, just as you would a favorite stuff toy. I did. Brought me great comfort last winter.

As far as feeling valued, it was their great loss. Perhaps their greatest loss. What they missed out on was a wonderful, intelligent, sincere man who would be there for them in an instant. A great son, a great brother. And his family. And they chose not to value that. ( The same happened to me... and still does. Not valued. Although I will say a couple of the siblings seemed to want to love me last week, as if they saw me differently and actually asked for my advice in dealing with the illness... but...).

You are a wise, good man and give feedback and honesty here. As you settle into your new home, make it the best, safest place you can. And hold those pictures close to you. Remember as you sort through this segment of the abuse to lift Lee up and remember him for who he is today. I am so glad you are posting again. Missed your thoughts.

bill
_________________________
For now we see through a glass, darkly.



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#446693 - 09/08/13 05:26 PM Re: what the pictures mean [Re: traveler]
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3517
Loc: somewhere in Africa
i just gotta say -

I STILL NEED YOU GUYS!

thanks so much to each of you for the messages.

i know i am doing much better than when i first started posting - but i still depend upon coming here to MS for the companionship - the reassurance that i am not alone - the knowledge that someone else listens and understands - the wisdom and kindness and support and encouragement - that i find here and that help me stay grounded and connected to reality and life.

thank you all.
lee
_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago


Top
#446700 - 09/08/13 07:53 PM Re: what the pictures mean [Re: traveler]
Rich1967 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/17/13
Posts: 289
Loc: PA
Lee,

Me too! I'm so happy to be someone who can offer you some support like you have for me as well. You are so welcome and you so deserve it.
_________________________
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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#446701 - 09/08/13 09:33 PM Re: what the pictures mean [Re: Rich1967]
pufferfish Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6875
Loc: USA
Yes. My boyhood pictures helped me a lot to figure stuff out. It actually took quite a while to put everything together. But it was worth doing. I even have some that connect with the ugly events. It's necessary for me to connect with those also.

Puffer

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#446756 - 09/09/13 09:24 PM Re: what the pictures mean [Re: traveler]
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3517
Loc: somewhere in Africa
...so today is my mother's birthday. i had a hard time trying to decide what to do about it. on one hand - she wouldn't even remember it - except that 2 of my brothers would be visiting her. and even then, they will have to remind her several times what the special occasion is. on the other hand - if they do something to observe the day and i don't - i look really bad. do i even care about that? idk

i went through all the alternatives - thinking i would just forget the whole thing - no, that isn't possible - but i could ignore it. or send flowers - don't really want to do that either. and if i sent an actual gift, she would immediately forget who sent it - and she doesn't need a thing. and i was upset with myself for getting so worked up over it. finally i decided to do something after all. ignoring her would be just as bad as what she did to me. it is not forgiveness per se - but it is the best i can do right now.

i bought a card - that was an ordeal in itself - reading all the flowery compliments about being the best mother in the world. i could feel my blood pressure rising. i was willing to send a card but i was not gonna lie. finally found a more neutral and reserved one that i could send in good conscience. then i got prints of some photos of my visit with her last month - one was even of me showing her the old photos i had found of me and my father and her. also printed a few of other family events since then. wrote dates and full descriptions on the back of each so she can figure them out. now at least she will have evidence that i visited.

and that is it - until next time.

lee
_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago


Top
#446766 - 09/09/13 11:26 PM Re: what the pictures mean [Re: traveler]
KMCINVA Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1790
Lee

You did the right thing. You kept your dignity and gave recognition of her birthday. It has to be hard on you. But you have shown you are a good person.

Kevin

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