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#461447 - 02/25/14 12:59 AM Your Mother's Abuse? *Triggers*
concerned_husky Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/29/12
Posts: 586
Sorry I haven't been too active on this forum lately. Life back with family has been taking a toll, and I haven't been able to muster up the energy to really contribute. I do think this is the forum where I truly belong, though.

I'm basically addressing mother-son survivors here.

Did your mother ever tell you things about her abuse? In my case, my grandmother (mother's mother) abused her. One particular incident I remember her telling me was when she was thrown out onto the balcony naked, when she was I don't know, anywhere between 10 to 14, because she did something wrong. Other incidents I remember are her getting beat, verbally abused, deprived of basic things like the warmth of a blanket during winter, etc. I think once I get started, I can list more and more.

The basic question I wanted to pose here is: how the hell do you react to stories of your abuser's abuse? What do you do with it?

Some things that come to me at the top of my head are: Why was I the one being told this? Why not dad? Why not her friends (I can kind of answer that one, she has none, and believes friends are untrustworthy and that nobody is to be trusted outside of family)?
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Husky

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#461448 - 02/25/14 01:22 AM Re: Your Mother's Abuse? *Triggers* [Re: concerned_husky]
morgan662 Offline


Registered: 01/13/14
Posts: 13
Loc: New York City
They want you to understand their compulsion to abuse you, and even perhaps make you understand them more deeply by being forced to go through what they went through.
_________________________
“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”
Kurt Vonnegut

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#461449 - 02/25/14 01:30 AM Re: Your Mother's Abuse? *Triggers* [Re: concerned_husky]
concerned_husky Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/29/12
Posts: 586
That's a good point Morgan, thanks. At the moment, her desire to make me understand seems to be largely unconscious, because consciously, she has still not admitted that what she did to me was abuse. I suspect she believes the same of her own. On the flip-side, I think you could also see the cycle of abuse/rationalization as her desire to prove - to herself, to me, to others - that her abuse was "love", upbringing "for one's own good". Real mind-boggling. It still takes me a while to process, if I have at all. Thanks for listening...
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Husky

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#461486 - 02/25/14 02:29 PM Re: Your Mother's Abuse? *Triggers* [Re: concerned_husky]
bey Offline


Registered: 01/28/10
Posts: 205
Loc: canada
Ya, my mom disclosed her sexual abuse to me. She did it in kind of a "this is what my father did to me, it's just how we do things in our family" kind of way. I guess her point was to rationalize and explain her abuse to me, and to convince me that what was happening was a normal parent/child thing. It also made me feel bad for her, which complicated stuff for me too. I guess she told me because she really had no boundaries with me, so no doubt telling me was just like telling herself. And maybe she was looking to explain herself. But she knew that what she was doing to me was abuse, there was nothing covert about it.

What do I do with it now? I guess I see my mother as a person who was hurt, and who made herself feel better by hurting me. And maybe thats the best she could do. I don't think that gives her a pass, or makes what she did OK. Not at all. But it makes it easier for me to see that it had nothing to do with me and everything to do with her. I was just unlucky to be born to a person who needed to hurt a child to feel safe, or in control, or whatever she was trying to feel by hurting me.

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#461503 - 02/25/14 09:09 PM Re: Your Mother's Abuse? *Triggers* [Re: concerned_husky]
concerned_husky Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/29/12
Posts: 586
Jeez...thanks for that Bey. That illuminates a lot of things for me. Everything you said. Everything.

Originally Posted By: bey
But it makes it easier for me to see that it had nothing to do with me and everything to do with her.


That gives me a lot of peace with her disclosure of all these things. It's like finally finding a place in the attic to shove in all the unnecessary baggage. Thanks...
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Husky

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#461634 - 02/27/14 10:08 AM Re: Your Mother's Abuse? *Triggers* [Re: concerned_husky]
focusedbody Offline


Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 340
Loc: NY
Concerned (and brave) Husky:

For a while I've been carrying around two different answers to this question. One for me and one for my mother. I'm still hoping to change that, but remain patient.

For instance, my mother imagined that when my brother told me about his abuse that perhaps it was his way of showing me how strong he was. While in some way, I appreciate what she said, I know that there is something missing. My brother didn't say it in that way. He said it because he needed to unload, he needed to tell somebody. I'm not sure he wants to explore what it has meant for him to have survived the abuse.

When my mother later told me about her abuse, it was shared in the way she described above. It felt like her talking about some kind of initiation that was somewhat normal. I don't want to feel the overwhelming need to change that, and remind myself that that is up to her.

What I am in the process of changing is that feeling that I am the only one she talks to on these subjects. That can make me scared because it seems like one of the pins that holds us in our net of enmeshment. Somewhere along the line I allowed her to cross that boundary of sharing with me things that made me uncomfortable.

I have always felt compassion for her and continue to do so. It is not the sharing of the information that is in itself a problem, as the way she does it. In that way, I see that she must perceive her telling me for different reasons than I do. I know she didn't have enough people to talk to in life. I know that she has suffered from social isolation.

One way that I have worked through our enmeshment has been to surprise her and be on the offensive when it comes to her "unconscious". For instance, when she remarked how sexy my son's voice was, I remarked on how this showed her taste in men. When she sent me a valentine recently, I asked her if she sent one to my brother. I do this in ways that are not aggressive but descriptive and observational.

For many years, I allowed my mother's "unconscious" to be the stuff of psychiatry. Now I understand that what is unconscious can also be what is not seen, what we are blind to and don't accept.

It is hard to be in this place but it also allows me to be here in ways I never was.

FB
_________________________
Lose the drama; life is a poem.

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#461650 - 02/27/14 02:35 PM Re: Your Mother's Abuse? *Triggers* [Re: concerned_husky]
gaatt Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 122
Originally Posted By: concerned_husky

Did your mother ever tell you things about her abuse?

How the hell do you react to stories of your abuser's abuse? What do you do with it?


Hi Husky,

Thanks for the questions. My mother has never disclosed enduring any kind of abuse. That's a challenge for me because the signs in me are so strong. I have dealt with confusion a great deal.

Some of the things that have helped me get clearer have been:

1. Focusing on the effect on myself and getting clear that many of her actions have fit the definition of abuse described by BCSMSSA (Sexual abuse is: unwanted or inappropriate physical, visual, verbal, or psychological interaction, that is perpetrated by either gender, of any age.)
2. Discovering that even though she has a physical ailment that is often described as having a psycho-emotional component, she refuses to heal herself at this level (and imagines that I'm not doing enough to heal myself at this level).
3. Taking into consideration the observations of family and friends. Her behaviours can clearly be hurtful and outside observers have described me as her "special" kid.
4. Seeing the way she accepts the disempowerment of women and reacts strongly to women who stand up for themselves sexually.

This last one became clear very recently when I told her about an old coworker of mine who killed his wife. She responded by saying that women often cause this kind of behaviour in men. She has also criticized my ex very strongly because she came from a family where divorce had happened. It gave me a glimpse into the self-destructive violence of her belief system around intimate male-female relations.

Seeing this stuff is helping me see her as a hurt person who deals with this hurt by being aggressive. I don't think that she knows how to deal with emotions or sexuality very well and sees male-female relations as a battle which she has to be very careful to win.

It's subtle work, but if I'm going to survive it (as she clearly states she would like) I have to find ways to see it clearly and protect myself from it while accepting the generous support she offers at other levels (mostly financially).

Dealing with her general aura of being a saint and a martyr is more closely related to your question about how to deal with your abusers stories of being hurt. I struggle with taking on women's trauma in many ways. I have to remind myself to really get clear on what I want and ask for it/ go for it. It's too easy and self-destructive to be a good "momma's boy" and take on trauma that isn't mine to heal.

I hope you find my experience helpful to you.

Sincerely,

"GAATT"


Edited by gaatt (02/27/14 02:39 PM)
_________________________
"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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#461690 - 02/28/14 02:05 AM Re: Your Mother's Abuse? *Triggers* [Re: concerned_husky]
focusedbody Offline


Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 340
Loc: NY
Gaatt:

Everything you describe is very familiar. I may be referring back to your post just so I can remember more clearly what I should already know!

One thing that is a little different for me is the dilemma of being a "momma's boy". One of the problems I run into with my trying to be more genuine and also masculine is that it runs the risk of causing my mother to dissociatively get excited about me becoming a man and then crossing a boundary. If I behave in a way that was definitely not "momma's boy" material, i.e. clearly manly, she might get even more messed up. (I know this sounds confusing and well......it is!)

Part of what I have done to survive and recover has been running the risk of being seen as a "momma's boy", in the sense of staying true to my own feelings and awareness. For me, knowing what I am feeling has been an important part of recovery. When I sort out my own feelings as separate from hers, it reminds me that I am separate.

Perhaps the distinction is small and obvious, but I thought it might be an important part of how to stay strong in the face of being asked to take on someone else's trauma.

FB
_________________________
Lose the drama; life is a poem.

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#461728 - 02/28/14 01:47 PM Re: Your Mother's Abuse? *Triggers* [Re: focusedbody]
gaatt Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 122
Hi Focussed
Originally Posted By: focusedbody
Everything you describe is very familiar.
Thanks, yes, I've noticed that our stories have lots of common themes too. This is reassuring for me. I experience very few people who fully understand what I'm dealing with.

Originally Posted By: focusedbody
One of the problems I run into with my trying to be more genuine and also masculine is that it runs the risk of causing my mother to dissociatively get excited about me becoming a man and then crossing a boundary.
Yes, this part is a little different. My mother tends to show signs of anger when I embrace my maleness. I find it frightening and disturbing. I think that she has alot of repressed anger around sexuality that comes out when I try to embrace mine at all. I do, however, totally understand your confusion. I've dealt with and continue to deal with confusion a great deal too. I think some of that is simply due to the subtle nature of the abuse. Subtle stuff is challenging to see clearly. I suppose we can be proud of our ability to do this and heal ourselves. I have heard of a local fellow who committed suicide due to a dynamic very similar to ours.


Originally Posted By: focusedbody
For me, knowing what I am feeling has been an important part of recovery. When I sort out my own feelings as separate from hers, it reminds me that I am separate.
Yes, this is crucial to me too. So often I've acted without knowing my own feelings or refusing to honour them. This tends to drain me quite strongly. When I get in touch with my anger or my fear of total exhaustion, then remember my commitment to "Loving this Earth and all her offspring" (including, most importantly, me) things start to change.

Thanks for writing. It's great to hear from you.

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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#461758 - 02/28/14 07:46 PM Re: Your Mother's Abuse? *Triggers* [Re: gaatt]
gaatt Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 122
Hi Guys,

I want to elaborate a bit on this quoted piece of mine because it seems to be very much up for healing in me these days:

Originally Posted By: gaatt
I struggle with taking on women's trauma in many ways.


I think it is related to the original question too in a broader way. It goes well beyond mother-son interactions in me. Women are pretty good at expressing their victimization (abuse). Men aren't so good at this.

My mother was trained as a nurse and the role of healer/nurturer is clearly part of what Betty Friedan called "The Feminine Mystique" in the book she wrote by that title. It's part of the role that many women have felt forced into by their gender role rather than a truly felt sense that this is what they want to do. I think my mother was definitely in that category. She resented it but sees it as her role. I also think that she sees men as being incapable of doing it for themselves. Men, in order to occupy the complementary "Masculine mystique" (aggressive, strong, protective) end up leaving healing and nurturing related decisions to women. My father was clearly in that stance just prior to his death. He left all the decisions not made by his doctor to my mother even when I openly offered my support to him. The doctor pretty much only told him what drugs to take and when. Everything else was her work.

I've recently found myself struggling with the support I receive from two very talented female healing practitioners. One wants me to do things and take products which don't seem to fit with me. Her intentions are great and her skills are generally excellent too, it's just that it seems that when I'm not clear on who I'm doing it for, the intervention seems to be less effective and/or actively burdensome. I'm having to do less sessions with the other practitioner, because I just have too much on my plate these days. I suspect she would like the work... and she's excellent at what she does. My tendency to take on more than is helpful to me has been coming to my attention.

I sometimes wonder why I do this. What do I fear? It usually boils down to fearing losing their support if I don't take on what I see as their needs (and thinking I'm incapable of replacing their support). These practitioners are very good at what they do and my health is very fragile. Finding good healing practitioners isn't easy, so the loss of their support could pose a significant barrier to my continued physical healing process. With my mother, it's a little more obvious. Losing her financial support would be devastating to my physical healing. The allopathic approach would have me drugged up and chopped to bits and on the street or living in a relative's basement fairly predictably. The alternative (which I am currently pursuing) although much more effective is slow, demanding, and expensive. I'm sure that as a kid, I feared death. Losing a mother's support is no picnic for a newborn child.

It's interesting to me to see how a pattern (of taking on her trauma) learned with my mother has generalized to most, if not all women. Fortunately, I'm making progress at setting limits on these relationships without losing the support I value and need. It's delicate work.

I hope this monologue is of value to you too. It's helpful for me to write it out. It strengthens my resolve to take care of myself. Thanks for giving me the space to do that.

Sincerely,

"GAATT"


Edited by gaatt (02/28/14 07:48 PM)
_________________________
"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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