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#457469 - 12/27/13 12:14 PM strange Christmas memory
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3322
Loc: somewhere in Africa
Recently, while talking about childhood memories, I remembered something that happened way back when I was about 12. It wasn’t abuse per se – but reinforced some of my negative feelings about myself and typifies how the step-dad treated me.

It was Christmas eve and step-dad had not bought mom a gift yet. He was suddenly in a panic and it made everyone in the family tense. After supper, he told me to come with him to go shopping in the city about a half-hour drive away. In those days, we did not often go there. It was uncomfortably silent in the car on the way.

I felt both honored and resentful. It was exciting to be out late with him – like a free pass into the adult world for an evening. But I was still fearful and guarded because of his long history of abusive behavior. And I knew why he wanted me to go with him. He did not trust his own taste and judgment in choosing something that mom would like. He knew that I had good taste in colors and would know what she would prefer. And it was ironic that he would value my opinion – because in the past he had often spoken abusively to me about being so girly in that way – caring about styles and what I wore and how I looked.

Yet he had been the one who feminized me. I was the oldest of 4 boys – one full brother and two half brothers. As the oldest, I was told that since I had no sisters, I had to be the one who helped mom. That summer, I was the one who did almost all the housework and laundry and ironing and much of the cooking while mom was pregnant.

I was a solitary child up to the time that they were married when I was nearly six. I preferred reading and drawing and imaginative play to more active outdoor stuff and rarely played with other kids except for my younger brothers. And I was expected to be the resident child-care provider for them. Then the step-dad would make fun of me for being sissyfied and say such things as “you’ll make some guy a good wife someday.” But now he wanted to take advantage of my skills to work to his advantage. I felt used and resentful.

We went to the best department store and I can still remember the robe we bought. It was very soft fleecy fabric before that type of fabric was common. It had rhinestones and pearls and silver embroidery in snowflake patterns on the lapels. Because it was the last minute, they were out of the right size. We bought it in white – knowing that she would have to exchange it later for her size. She eventually exchanged it for light blue in the right size. We were there until the store closed – waiting for them to gift-wrap it in gold foil with a big ornamental bow and miniature wreath.

Mom liked the robe but was disappointed that she could not wear it right away. He blamed that on me. There had been a hideous bright pink chenille one in her size that he would have bought, but that I knew she would have hated. He said I had insisted on this one rather than that one. I kept my mouth shut.

That was a weird situation – being the one who saved his a$$ - but knowing that it was my despised trait that he was using to get himself off the hook and make him look good. It didn’t really make any difference in our relationship in the long run. He still put me down and behaved inappropriately with me. He seemed to hate me for being the victim and an ever-present reminder of his misbehavior.

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


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#457471 - 12/27/13 01:29 PM Re: strange Christmas memory [Re: traveler]
OCN Offline


Registered: 02/05/13
Posts: 217
Loc: Western Europe
He Lee

dont really know what to say, but just wanted to let you know i read the story. I hope it'll help you fill in some puzzle pieces, cause in my case i realize it's not just the abuse which has its effects..

Seems like you tried everything you can to keep the family in balance..

The last sentence you write is interesting! In the book victim no longer (you probably know it if it wasnt you who introduced it to me in the first place ;)) this is the reason why children are attacked. The innocence and trust of a child are hated.

Yet another puzzle piece i imagine.. keep on going strong Lee!

Pieter
_________________________
Trust me, you are worth it to love yourself!

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#457498 - 12/27/13 06:35 PM Re: strange Christmas memory [Re: traveler]
DavoSwim Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/06/13
Posts: 315
Loc: Iowa, USA
Lee,

This story illustrates clearly the abuse you suffered as a kid. It shows that abuse is not always sexual but also psychological. You endured great violations, and you survived. That is such a testament to your strength and serves as an inspiration to others, me included.

One lesson I see is that your love for your mom was so strong that you were willing to be belittled by her husband. You knew what she would like and you stood your ground. Christmas was not about making him look good for giving a gift - it was about giving a gift that your mom loved. Way to go, Lee.

There' a lesson for all of us - the true meaning of Christmas is about what we are willing to do for others whom we love.

All the best, Lee

Dave

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#457586 - 12/29/13 11:27 AM Re: strange Christmas memory [Re: traveler]
BraveFalcon Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/25/13
Posts: 1093
Loc: The ATL
Originally Posted By: traveler

That was a weird situation – being the one who saved his a$$ - but knowing that it was my despised trait that he was using to get himself off the hook and make him look good. It didn’t really make any difference in our relationship in the long run. He still put me down and behaved inappropriately with me. He seemed to hate me for being the victim and an ever-present reminder of his misbehavior.


Hi Lee. I don't have a lot to add but I wanted you to know that I really felt bad for the 12 year old Lee while reading this. Your stepfather truly was a manipulative and selfish person. It sounds like he spent a lot of time setting you up, just so he could knock you down. I'm sorry you had to go through that and I'm glad you survived him. You survived him, therefore you beat him. Thank god he can't hurt and torment you any longer. Peace,

Ken

PS. I read your other thread and yes, I'm glad Christmas is over with too. Not for exactly the same reasons, but I'm glad. Things should start getting back to normal fairly shortly, for what it's worth.

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#457590 - 12/29/13 11:54 AM Re: strange Christmas memory [Re: traveler]
Ever-fixed Mark Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/02/10
Posts: 725
Loc: United States
Traveller,

What a sad and pathetic human being your step-father was. He was so insecure he couldn't make a decision on his own, he was so self-involved he couldn't connect with your mum to know what she'd like, he was so stuck on what he needed to do that he waited until the last minute, he was so cripplingly insecure that he needed to blame you for the size when it was clearly out of your control, and he was so unconscious and foolish that in blaming you for the wrong size he handed the credit that he wanted for making a good choice back to you.

How sad it must have been for him to feel so empty of good and value, to be so bereft of self-worth that you need to tear down a child to build yourself up. I wonder whether it's occurred to you Traveller, that the reason your step-father was like this with you was some degree of jealousy or envy. What we lack, we often envy in others.

That Christmas shopping trip was a validation of you and your natural abilities and an illustration of his petulant emptiness.

-efm
_________________________

Everybody here's got a story to tell
Everybody's been through their own hell
There's nothing too special about getting hurt
Getting over it, that takes the work

- "Duck and Cover" by Glen Phillips

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#457600 - 12/29/13 05:13 PM Re: strange Christmas memory [Re: traveler]
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3322
Loc: somewhere in Africa
wow, efm - it felt good to read that! a lot more than just thinking to myself what a self-centered jerk he was!

Ken - sorry you had a tough time with this holiday, too. yup, he did set me up to knock me down. i can think of several examples that were even more blatant. i once told my T that he first shot my feet out from under me. then he expected me to win every race. then he condemned me for not running well enough.

sorry, Dave - i wan/t really that loving toward mom. i had already given up on any meaningful relationship with her. but i did have my own aesthetic standards. if i was to be associated with it, no way would i go along with something tacky!

and Pieter - yes, it was much more than the overt abuse that was harmful in that house. i think he hated and sought to destroy or devalued anything that he did not have - claiming it was of no use if he did not possess it. like efm said, there was an element of envy in it.

i really didn't expect much in the way of responses to this story. i merely wanted to share it with an audience that i knew would "get it." but it is definitely encouraging.

thanks,
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


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