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#458530 - 01/12/14 08:35 PM The journey out
focusedbody Offline


Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 332
Loc: NY
As I continue to consider feeling less isolated, I look back. One of the people who helped me a lot is also someone with whom things are a bit unresolved.

When I first starting face all of this stuff head on, I was also working with a male therapist who got me through some difficult times. He was someone who worked on “men’s issues”. Unfortunately, when it came to exploring sexual abuse issues, he had less endurance for the fight. At one point, when I began to describe the relationship with my mother as having crossed some sexual boundaries, he began by stating it might be understandable because I was “pretty”.

This therapist taught me a lot, but I also realized at one point that he had grown up in a similar situation as myself. Ending my work with him was not easy, but necessary. We had a lot of compassion for each other. He said that at times I was more of a colleague to him than a patient.

Thinking back to the “pretty” comment, I can’t help but consider how difficult it can be for people to see the true nature of sexual confusion between a boy and his mother. I feel that I have learned more of the difficult landscape surrounding it, but would be interested to hear from others on the way the situation can get rationalized too quickly. I think it would help me have more perspective if I encounter this kind of comment or perspective some time in the future.

Thanks,

FB
_________________________
Lose the drama; life is a poem.

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#462284 - 03/09/14 06:05 PM Re: The journey out [Re: focusedbody]
Tiger1982 Offline


Registered: 01/31/14
Posts: 26
Loc: Slovakia
Hello FB.

Since I was abused by my mother - both physically and emotionally, I am really confused. I have no idea how a natural, non-sexual mother-son relationship should look like. I was more a partner to her than a son, so it is safe to say, that I didn't have a mother - she was more like a partner to me, but of course, I didn't understand this as a small kid...

I was also "pretty". I thought, that this is the reason why she is always touching me in this sleazy way, why she always goes into my bed in the evening and why she bathes me in a very strange way. So I did my best to be ugly. I developed skin problems, I became really fat, but it didn'ty stop the abuse...

As for my sexuality - I'm really very confused. It took me a long time to start figuring things out and I've only begun to scratch the surface. The problem is that most af the abuse was hidden, covert, so I have only slowly begun to undestand that our relationship was not normal, that it affected me deeply on all levels. A haven't seen my mother for 2 years (thanks God!) and I'm not sure how I would talk to her if I would see her. I can't treat her as my partner, but I can't treat her as a mother either - because we have never developed a healthy mother - son relationship.

Have a nice day FB. I wish you all the best on your journey of recovery

Andy
_________________________
Out of the dark, into the light.

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#462620 - 03/14/14 05:22 PM Re: The journey out [Re: focusedbody]
gaatt Offline


Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 111
Hi Focussed,

Originally Posted By: focusedbody
I ... would be interested to hear from others on the way the situation can get rationalized too quickly.


I encounter various types of rationalization frequently. I think that the whole issue of a male being sexually traumatized by a female is so disturbing to both female and male "mystiques" (gender roles) that most people simply want to pretend that it didn't happen or couldn't actually be all that hurtful or that the women were in some way out of control and hence guiltless.

Most of the time attention is somehow drawn off my pain and focussed on my mother's. It's as if since she was suffering (or somehow not in control of herself (menopausal is one rationalization that has been used for her)), why should I complain? "Get with the program and pretend you are OK". Another way is to focus on my mother's saintliness and avoid any sincere attention to the way she can be hurtful. My sister once told me that I had to forgive her in order to heal myself. I took that as a way of avoiding the full impact of what my mother had done and disconnecting from me and my suffering. Like you, I've often been described as being attractive. When I was born, no male name was ready for me yet a female one was. I haven't directly been blamed for being attractive to her. It's been more or less about "she's suffering and needs support, so don't complain". My father was a strong perpetrator of "don't complain about or bother your mother". He was very protective of her at my expense. I was once severely shamed by him because I got angry in her presence and it upset her. No one seemed to be too concerned about what was bothering me! Another aspect of diverting attention away from the real issue is when people say "well, she couldn't have meant it" or "it couldn't have been conscious" as if it being conscious or not would make a difference to me. It's just a way to sweep the issue aside. I did have a therapist once claim that childhood sexual abuse is the perception of the child. I didn't last long with her. I had another suggest that I look into "Emotional Intelligence". I didn't last long with her either. When I was upset during a men's group because an attractive female student was introduced to the group without consulting me or any of the other guys in advance, the facilitator drew my attention to my intense longing. Yeah, sure I was longing for an intimate connection with her. But nobody was willing to do anything about the fact that that longing would have nor could have any resolution in that situation (She was married in addition to being in a counselling role and very unlikely to be interested in a connection that is at the very least based in my healing process). I left the group. The facilitator later explained to the group that the student had done nothing wrong. Of course she hadn't, he invited her in without preparing me at all. He showed no practical interest in my needs and a great deal of interest in hers.

I think much of this could come under the theme of abiding by the male (and female) mystiques. Women couldn't possibly be hurtful but are easily victims (of men). Men (and boys) can't be victims of women in any way. These are the beliefs. It keeps men in the role of heroes (or competing to be one) and women in the role of attractive, adoring, helpless wimps. The rationalizations simply support them.

I've been realizing as I write, how angry I feel about this. It seems the barriers to healing support are in so many people in so many ways. Effective support for me is rare. I see this as being the result of a culture that gives lip service to wholeness at best. Traditional marriage vows are about staying together through time, property rights, and reproducing. They have little or nothing to do with Love despite the propaganda. In order to survive that prison, people split themselves into gender roles at great cost and violence to themselves and other. Sexual practices have little to do with Love as well as a consequence.

I am moving into embracing, celebrating, embodying the whole of my being. That means the victim as well as the hero. That means my feminine traits as well as my masculine ones. Looking to the people and culture around me isn't, in general, going to help me much. I have to look within myself first and to people who seem courageous enough to follow that path with me. That's people like you FB. Thanks for asking your question.

I hope this helps.

Sincerely,

"GAATT"


Edited by gaatt (03/14/14 07:16 PM)
Edit Reason: Filling out the core
_________________________
"Love yourself and watch...Today, Tomorrow, Always." Buddha.

My Story: http://www.malesurvivor.org/board/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=468661#Post468661

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#463121 - 03/25/14 09:31 AM Re: The journey out [Re: focusedbody]
focusedbody Offline


Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 332
Loc: NY
Thanks for your responses. Sorry it' taken me a while to write again, but I had to think on this a bit more.

One thing that has happened since posting this is that I have seen this particular male therapist in public. We had a brief conversation that actually solidified a bit of my perspective. All in all, he's a good person and recognizes a lot of my growth. He also acknowledges that that growth has been helpful to him.

So the encounter makes the "journey out" a little easier.

Yet still I'm hung up on the "pretty" question.

My way of thinking is that "pretty" is more of how I was conditioned to react than any kind of objective measure of my looks. Of course these objective measures are mostly subjective anyway. And women have much more experience in being "objectified" by them than men. But that being said, I do believe that I have experienced some objectification that I failed to recognize and acknowledge. I think this was partly what my parents each needed to do with me when they couldn't deal with their own issues. What complicates this further, of course, is the fact that objectification of men is rarely talked about.

Thinking back to the therapist who said this in response to my mentioning female abuse, it seems like the dynamic between us was working against any kind of mutual acknowledgment of our difficulty. We were very congenial and I always enjoyed talking with him. But over time, the bigger need for healing won out. In a separate conversation, the therapist acknowledged to me that is own mother had not been particularly clear with him sexually. As time went on during my work with him, the picture of his family situation and its similarity to mine became clearer. His father was bipolar. His sisters tend to make him feel less like a man.

While that may seem distressing to find out, because who really wants to know the therapists' life anyway, it actually was kind of helpful in the long run. Seeing his similarity to me affirmed my own experience.

And now I can see how there have been many male friends with whom I have tried to connect to, probably unconsciously in the hope that I could tell them about the difficulty with my mother. This combined with whatever I needed to make up for the space my father didn't fill, made for a lot of intense longings and deeply felt male connections. Now, after spending a lot more time listening to myself and reflecting on my needs and desires, I see that while connecting to other men is important, doing my own work is really the first step because, as you say Gaatt, it means coming into a more full experience of me.

So in the end, being "pretty" is really nothing compared to having and holding a sense of oneself. I find that the more I am centered in that, the more I excavate out the conditioning established long ago that turned me into an object for others to see what they wanted. Is this painful? Yes, but I'd rather have the pain than feel lost in something made for me I never asked for.

Hope this lends a little more wisdom to something that can be truly confusing.

FB
_________________________
Lose the drama; life is a poem.

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#463486 - 03/31/14 02:47 PM Re: The journey out [Re: focusedbody]
gaatt Offline


Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 111
HI Focussed,

Thanks for writing.

Originally Posted By: focusedbody
My way of thinking is that "pretty" is more of how I was conditioned to react than any kind of objective measure of my looks.


I identify with this description of "pretty" very strongly. I'm strongly conditioned to serve women's needs when mine aren't even on the table at all (and men aren't generally even remotely interested in them either). So yes, it makes me attractive to women, at my expense. I suppose many women would identify with this situation too. Finding mutually supportive connections with people is my challenge. This forum is a good example of that.

Originally Posted By: focusedbody
So in the end, being "pretty" is really nothing compared to having and holding a sense of oneself. I find that the more I am centered in that, the more I excavate out the conditioning established long ago that turned me into an object for others to see what they wanted. Is this painful? Yes, but I'd rather have the pain than feel lost in something made for me I never asked for.


I struggle with the pain a great deal. I really don't want to experience it. I know I should revisit that attitude and spend some time getting friendly with the feeling. Occasionally I do, but more often than not I run in the other direction. Thanks for bringing this issue to light.

Originally Posted By: focusedbody
Hope this lends a little more wisdom to something that can be truly confusing.

Yes, definitely. Thanks again.

Sincerely,

"GAATT"
_________________________
"Love yourself and watch...Today, Tomorrow, Always." Buddha.

My Story: http://www.malesurvivor.org/board/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=468661#Post468661

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#463556 - 04/02/14 02:46 AM Re: The journey out [Re: gaatt]
focusedbody Offline


Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 332
Loc: NY
Originally Posted By: gaatt
I struggle with the pain a great deal. I really don't want to experience it. I know I should revisit that attitude and spend some time getting friendly with the feeling. Occasionally I do, but more often than not I run in the other direction. Thanks for bringing this issue to light.


Gaatt:

Thanks also for your support.

Mentioning all that I have said and being understood also means a lot. No, more than a lot...

Now to another aspect of "The Journey Out". I want to preface it by saying, however, that understanding one's pain is primary. Whatever I write here should be taken in the right context, with the right perspective and perhaps revisited later when there has been time to reflect.

i.e. **TRIGGER WARNING**

Why this is a trigger may not be grasped by others. However, for us who have endured a kind of unknown loss and unbearable confusion, it may be more apparent.

In the process of discussing my desires with the therapist I mentioned, it came to light that he had walked a similar path on his way to becoming married. We spoke frankly of his choosing his mate over another possibility. He stated that in choosing a woman without the issues that were similar to his mother, he had decided to walk a healthy path.

He then acknowledged that I was choosing to walk a different path, that it was not what a lot of guys would do. It might be argued that the mother of my children, from whom I am separated, is fairly close to my own mother in some ways. But what's even more interesting is his formulation of it in those terms, as well as his acknowledgment of my intention.

It seems pretty typical in male culture that we should not be pushed around by ballsy women, made to lose our sexual identity by their appalling behavior, etc. But what's curious about what I am relating here is that the "pretty" comment did not come from her, from a woman committed to feminizing me, but from him.

Although this may be only remotely related, I remember in fact a day when I went to visit my Mom about fifteen years ago. She had organized an event for young children and I stood outside the school before going inside. As a class of elementary school kids walked into the auditorium, one of them in the front of the line looked at me and said, "Handsome". Apparently the rest of the class decided that this was an accurate use of a new vocabulary word, so that as they all passed by me on their way in, they each said, "Handsome".

It is ironic that another man calls me "pretty" in explanation of why mother crossed sexual boundaries with me, while a visit to my mother actually brought out the observation that I am "handsome"! When I think about the experience of being objectified and the many ways we react and respond to it, it seems possible that we tend to attribute more of the experience to ourselves than to the viewer.

What's to be understood here? Well, it seems likely that the way I was related to at an early age in my family probably shut down all of my more natural human responses to seeing who I was. I suppose what might also be said is that what sustains these perspectives is based in a fear of something that I do not always share.

It's also the case that on my "journey out", I will continue to encounter voices and perspectives that are saying "bad idea", or "I wouldn't do that", or "this isn't what a man would do". My hope is that I can remain true to myself. I feel the habit of internalizing the negative observations of others has taken away enough of my life. I'd like to find myself in a different continuum.

It is not easy to write this. Even contemplating this situation brings out a kind of disorientation and loss. But from what I know, this deep conditioned block to knowing me is the very thing that keeps me chained.

Peace and well wishes,

FB
_________________________
Lose the drama; life is a poem.

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#463808 - 04/07/14 01:58 PM Re: The journey out [Re: focusedbody]
gaatt Offline


Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 111
Hi Focussed,

Originally Posted By: focusedbody
My hope is that I can remain true to myself.


I hope so too... I wish the same for myself... and wish that more people would put more effort in this direction. I'm sure the trauma I experienced in my youth would never have happened had this had truly been the case and the isolation I regularly feel today would also vaporize.

It's a relief to know I'm not alone in this at the depth we regularly visit. Thanks for writing.

Namaste my friend,

"GAATT"
_________________________
"Love yourself and watch...Today, Tomorrow, Always." Buddha.

My Story: http://www.malesurvivor.org/board/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=468661#Post468661

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