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#460082 - 02/03/14 09:43 PM Flashbacks
TW16 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor


Registered: 06/11/09
Posts: 159
Loc: Utah
Up until about six or seven months ago I could not remember much as to what had happened to me as a teenager. Now I am having memories return, and more rencently, they are becoming more and more clear as to what was said and done. Tod this day I still have not told anyone what had happenedd to me, especially about the abuse itself.

In regards to this incident, I have at times thought about contacting my abuser and telling him how mcuh he has ruined my life and made it so that I can't even tell anyone and get help. Is this common? Have any of you ever thought about contacting your abuser? If so, what was your experience like? Did you ever go backa nd talk to them?

TW16

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#460086 - 02/03/14 10:51 PM Re: Flashbacks [Re: TW16]
brother2none Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/30/09
Posts: 265
Loc: Undisclosed
Hello TW16. There is a good format for a letter to the abuser here on MS, in a resource article by Ken Singer, a five part letter format. I used it, and it helped to organize my thoughts. Look for it.

I sent the letter certified mail to the abuser. He signed for it. I know he got it. I know his signature.

He did not respond. But writing the letter, and the process of confronting him, was one of the best things I did in my recovery. Consider drafting the letter as if you would not be sending it, this will allow you the freedom to express without reservation, and I think that is important.

When I didn't get any response, I decided to sue his ass in court, and that was the second best thing Ive done. Now I;m on offense, and he's on defense, and Im kicking ass.

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#460094 - 02/04/14 03:32 AM Re: Flashbacks [Re: brother2none]
victor-victim Offline


Registered: 09/27/03
Posts: 3350
Loc: O Kanada
Originally Posted By: brother2none
Hello TW16. There is a good format for a letter to the abuser here on MS, in a resource article by Ken Singer, a five part letter format.


dear TW16,
it took me a while, but i found it.
thanks for that reference brother2none!

this is good stuff.
here is where i got it from.
http://www.malesurvivor.org/ArchivedPages/singer3.html

here it is...


Part 2 - Confrontation with your perpetrator

(Note: Confrontation can be healing. It also has the potential to cause additional emotional and possibly even physical harm to the survivor. It should not be taken lightly or done impulsively. The survivor who plans to confront his perpetrator should go through the disclosure process [see first part of this article in the previous edition of the NOMSV newsletter or at the website, www.nomsv.org], and discuss this with his therapist.)

Many abusers fear confrontation from their victims. Like bullies, abusers are effective in their power only as long as the person they are controlling is unable or unwilling to fight back, stand up or reject the demands of the abusive person. In my 20+ years of working with adolescent and adult sexual abusers, I have found some abusers who would welcome a confrontation with their victims because they are truly sorry for what they have done. This generally does not occur until they have developed an understanding of the effects of their abuse on the victim and have really looked within themselves to recognize their total responsibility for the abuse. In other words, this usually happens through an abuser being in good sex offense-specific treatment, which can last for several years or more. Those who never were in this kind of treatment will likely resort to denial, make excuses, and blame the victim.

An abuser who has not been in treatment, or is in the early stages, will usually fear confrontation with his/her victim. Abusers choose children and vulnerable adults to assault. Unless they need to use a weapon, abusers trick, threaten, manipulate, bribe or use their strength or knowledge as an older person to get the victim to go along with the abuse.

When the abuse took place, the abuser likely was more powerful than the victim. For many survivors, the decision to confront an abuser takes many years and the survivor may well be physically stronger than the abuser by this time. However more physically powerful the survivor may be now, the abuser may seem to be just as powerful as s/he was when the abuse occurred. In other words, the survivor may be stronger (including having more knowledge and other resources) but emotionally may feel just as vulnerable and weak as when s/he was a child.

The decision to confront an abuser should not be taken lightly. It generally needs to be preceded by careful preparation, including disclosure to a supportive person and exploration of the best ways to confront to ensure safety and positive results. The considerations for a disclosure should be examined prior to having a confrontation. That is, who is to be confronted, why , how, where, and when should be part of a preliminary plan before a survivor confronts his/her perpetrator. As with a disclosure, there are several ways to confront a perpetrator.

Most people think confrontation must be face to face. This is potentially the most rewarding but also the most risky. Sometimes, the confrontation can be best done via a letter or phone call and later, if appropriate, in person. Whichever format a survivor decides to take, it is recommended to write a letter to the abuser as a means of clarifying the abuse and its effects on the survivor. The letter (whether sent or not) will help the survivor better understand the effects of the abuse and sort out any ambivalent feelings s/he may have towards the abuser.

I suggest this five part format to give the survivor some direction in preparing for a confrontation, whether in person or not. Be prepared to rewrite it a number of times and get feedback from a trusted person or therapist before sending it.
---------------------------------------

Part 1 - –What you did to me.” This should be done in some specific detail. Abusers generally rationalize their abuse and deny to themselves or others what they actually did. They may conveniently forget that what they see as –touching” may have been forced masturbation, or minimize that it only happened once when it took place more frequently. They may assume that the victim was sleeping and unaware of the abuse, but s/he was really awake and remembers all that was done to him/her. Abusers need to be confronted with specifics, not generalizations such as, –You stole my childhood”, or –took my innocence.” It is more real to the reader to read or hear, –You made me suck your penis.” It is important to convey sufficient detail to confirm what really happened without making it so graphic that it sounds pornographic. Some offenders will get aroused by the visual imagery that too much detail could provide, so there needs to be a balance between sufficient information and pornographic recall.

Part 2 - –How it has effected my life.” Abusers will frequently minimize the impact of the abuse on the victim. They may also attribute known problems the survivor is going through on other sources, such as the survivor's struggles with substance abuse being caused by the parents' divorce or other events in the survivor's life. Stating, –I abused drugs and alcohol to try to block out the feelings and memories of what you did to me” is more direct and any effects of the abuse, such as confused sexual identity, inability to trust others, fear or preoccupation with sexual gratification, should be tied to the abuser in order for him/her to take full responsibility. Letter writing can be a helpful exercise for the survivor regardless of whether the letter is sent. Taking a thorough inventory can help put the blame for the survivor's problems on the abuse and the abuser rather than the survivor staying stuck in self-blame.

Part 3 - –How I feel about what you did.” Some survivors may have mixed feelings about the abuse and the abuser, especially when the abuser was close to the survivor, such as a parent or relative. One can love the abuser but hate the abuse. It is helpful to let the abuser know how you felt about it. This is often difficult for male survivors who experienced physical pleasure, had an erection or orgasm during the abuse. Abusers have used the physical arousal of the victim as –proof” that the child enjoyed the sexual activity or somehow wanted it. Whether it felt good or resulted in physical stimulation, it was beyond the child's ability to fully comprehend what was going on.

Part 4 - –How I feel about you.” This can address the conflict (if any) between the abuser and what s/he did. If the relationship was completely negative and there was no positive feeling towards the abuser, it may well come out as –I hated what you did and hate you as well.” It may also be a way to let the abuser know how you truly feel about him/her and to be empowered to say so. For survivors who have positive feelings for the abuser, this part can help separate the abuse from the person. It can also help address how the relationship could have been, had the abuser not done what s/he did.

Part 5 - –What I want you to do about it.” Some survivors have requested money to pay for their therapy as a means of restitution for the abuse. Others have used the letter to establish boundaries with the abuser. This may mean the abuser is told not call or contact the survivor without the survivor's request. The survivor may insist on an apology or have the abuser confirm to other family members that the abuse did indeed take place. It is important that the letter-writer go through the first four parts before deciding on an appropriate action from the abuser. Going through all five parts provides opportunities for clarity and reexamination.
--------------------------------------------------

Writing this letter can be healing in and of itself. I recently worked with a male survivor who had a number of issues with his mother about the abuse he endured from a friend of his parents and a cousin, both of whom are dead. He had issues of anger towards his mother for not protecting him or seeing the need to get him help as a child (even though he did not disclose to his mother the abuse by either perpetrator). In writing the letter to his mother, he found his sense of anger greatly reduced and felt a greater degree of control in his life without even sending the letter to her.

The decision to confront an abuser should not be taken lightly nor should it be done in a moment of anger, and definitely not happen when the survivor is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It should be well thought out and discussed with a therapist and a support person who may know the abuser. Writing the five part letter (and not sending it) may be a way to test the waters on a confrontation to see if the survivor is ready for such an action. If the attempt to write the letter causes the survivor to freeze up or become so overwhelmed with emotion, it likely means he is not ready to confront his perpetrator. However, if the letter, after being rewritten as needed, says what the survivor wants to say, it may be time to send the letter. If the perpetrator responds positively to the letter, it could be an indication to meet in person or talk by phone.

There are also ways to symbolically confront an abuser who is dead, missing or otherwise unavailable for confrontation. These symbolic confrontations may be done in a support group or individually with a trusted therapist. Visiting the grave of a dead perpetrator and speaking to the headstone has been healing for some survivors. One client of mine took a few personal effects (a scarf and seductive photo) of his deceased mother/perpetrator and burned them on her grave. Many therapists are experienced in use of symbolic acts for healing and can be a resource for this kind of confrontation.

The important point is that the confrontation needs to be empowering for the survivor and not a re-enactment of old abusive patterns. There are safety measures which need to be put in place such as having the abuser come in to the therapist's office or location that provides safety and support for the survivor. Remember that confrontation can be a powerful tool for healing and should always be undertaken with consultation from a trusted therapist.



it is too bad i did not see this earlier.
i might have written a letter to my rapist before he died in jail.
now it is forever too late.
i don't recommend the wait.

don't delay, do it today.
(that is my opinion, but it may not be the right thing for everyone)
_________________________
Victor|Victim

War
Love
Poetry

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#460120 - 02/04/14 09:07 PM Re: Flashbacks [Re: TW16]
TW16 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor


Registered: 06/11/09
Posts: 159
Loc: Utah
Thanks.

TW16

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