Newest Members
jeremywickers, JScott12, TMatti2, DaiseyLady, uvagrad4
12501 Registered Users
Today's Birthdays
innocence (60), pablo999 (53)
Who's Online
4 registered (tbkkfile, 3 invisible), 18 Guests and 5 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
12501 Members
74 Forums
64185 Topics
447887 Posts

Max Online: 418 @ 07/02/12 07:29 AM
Twitter
Topic Options
#464143 - 04/16/14 01:30 AM Trying to understand masculinity
TheBobcatAgain Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/13/10
Posts: 507
Loc: AZ, U.S.A.
This is my biggest problem I'm struggling with right now.

From "Understanding and Raising Boys; Growing Up Masculine" - "Men are extremely important in giving boys messages about being a man," adds Canada. "Boys want to grow up to be like their male role models. And boys who grow up in homes with absent fathers search the hardest to figure out what it means to be male."

That last sentence hit me hard.

My father WAS present - but only physically. Mom once told me that he was more like our roommate than family. He was once described as being a ghost. I was never taught about sports or cars or women or barbecuing or beer or power tools or puberty...or even carving a damn turkey! And I'm still fucking clueless on all of these (except puberty, which I learned about by myself years after it was over)!

I WANT TO KNOW WHAT IT MEANS TO BE MALE! Thanks to my dad and my CSA, I feel like a 42-year-old boy. And I'm fearful that I will never know what it feels like to be man.

I want to feel like a man. I want to be accepted by other men as a man. I want to do manly things and look manly so I won't overhear others wondering about my masculinity (and sexuality).

I KNOW not all men behave the same; I KNOW stereotypical masculinity is shallow and sometimes violent. But is it a sin or a crime to WANT it? I have SO much trouble connecting with other males - is it SO terrible to want to imitate stereotypical masculinity so I CAN connect better with other men?

I wish I could find a father figure - a really masculine guy to take me under his wing and mold me...like I wish my own father had done.

Can you guys tell me what it feels like to be a man? Or any tips on when you feel especially male? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

With thanks and love,

Bobcat
_________________________
You don't have to be perfect to be wonderful.

Top
#464148 - 04/16/14 09:46 AM Re: Trying to understand masculinity [Re: TheBobcatAgain]
JayBro Offline


Registered: 11/13/12
Posts: 271
Loc: Germany
Hey Bobcat,

I'm 22 and had been struggling very much with this, especially a year ago. What helped for me was to be my "authentic self", and to gravitate towards friends and others with attributes that I admired. In my recovery, I have found two male role models- one is one of my best friends and another is my therapist. I talk with them openly about my thoughts and feelings (and they about theirs), and it is through vulnerability and other non-stereotypical male traits that I have been able to re-affirm my masculinity.

Where you live, are there any support services/discussion groups where male survivors of childhood sexual abuse can meet and discuss? What you are experiencing is a common theme or stage in the recovery process that is particular to men and it may help to connect in person with others who have similar questions concerning their masculinity. Male Survivor, as well as other resources, have retreat weekends for men to get together in person and experience this bonding and personal development.



_________________________
,,Nun ging es immerzu, weit, weit bis an der Welt Ende."

Top
#464154 - 04/16/14 12:49 PM Re: Trying to understand masculinity [Re: TheBobcatAgain]
pete1973 Offline


Registered: 01/02/14
Posts: 43
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Bobcat, I can relate to your feelings. I am 40 and trying to reconnect with the 11 year old boy that got left behind when he was abused. To me he is still stuck in that room staring out the window, alone and afraid to leave because he doesn't know what to expect of the outside world as everything got turned upside down that May afternoon. It was like the shell of my body left but the soul of the boy is trapped in that room, trapped by the fear and shame and the body moved on and matured way to fast for any 11 year old and so much was missed and I have been ashamed for leaving him behind.
But now I am a man, not entirely the man I wanted to be but I feel that by going back and rescuing that boy and finding the lost teenager that was again abused that with all three of us together we can be complete and be the man we want to be.
And to be that man, to me anyways, involves allowing the 11 year old and the teen to come out and be a part of my life now, to feel the joy and happiness that was lost the day that monster molested me.
I have found myself spending time at the door looking at 11 year old me, it is open and he can leave, I need to find the words and more so the reasons to convince him to leave. The thing keeping him there is the window I stared out while he abused me, that window was my escape, my coping, my numbness to not feel what he was doing to me and that window has been my automatic coping mechanism in public, in private it was masturbation and when I was younger there were times that the window wasn't enough and I would slip away and find a discrete spot to masturbate and don't get me wrong, I love to masturbate, always have and glad that was my coping mechanism rather than drugs or alcohol but I am looking for other ways to cope now other than the numbing window, something that gives me joy or pleasure other than masturbation.
I think connecting with that 11 year old and letting him feel free and happy may give me that joy I miss and have not allowed myself to feel for so long.

Top
#464247 - 04/18/14 05:06 PM Re: Trying to understand masculinity [Re: TheBobcatAgain]
TheBobcatAgain Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/13/10
Posts: 507
Loc: AZ, U.S.A.
Thank you for the responses.

JayBro - You wrote, "...it is through vulnerability and other non-stereotypical male traits that I have been able to re-affirm my masculinity." Can you explain that to me? It sounds useful.

Your idea of group therapy/weekend retreats is a good one. I went to a WoR 4 years ago - and it was great - but I didn't talk about my lack of masculinity; I concentrated on my CSA. I would attend a group session to talk about masculinity, but I haven't the money to afford to go to one just now.

Pete1973 - You are I are nearly the same age, and our abuse occurred at nearly the same age, so I can relate to your feelings as well. I hope you reconnect with what you've lost soon.

Bobcat
_________________________
You don't have to be perfect to be wonderful.

Top
#464255 - 04/19/14 12:47 AM Re: Trying to understand masculinity [Re: TheBobcatAgain]
pufferfish Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6875
Loc: USA
I have what may be the opposite problem. Maybe it's the same problem and I just don't understand it. I tend to think that male humans are aggressors. My inner thought is that they are mean and controlling. Sexually they just want it from me.

So, I realize superficially that this is all wrong. I know I need to relearn in this area. But How? I have such strong unconscious memories from being abused.

Puffer

Top
#464258 - 04/19/14 02:51 AM Re: Trying to understand masculinity [Re: TheBobcatAgain]
TheBobcatAgain Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/13/10
Posts: 507
Loc: AZ, U.S.A.
Hey, Pufferfish. It's been awhile, brother. Good to see you again.

My abuser was a boy - not much older than myself - and I didn't have any aggressive men in my life. True, I was bullied mercilessly throughout junior high and high school, but those aren't the guys I want to emulate.

The guys in chat this afternoon were nice enough to listen to me ramble on about this. I realized I'm not sure what I want from other men. Do I want their respect? Do I want to know how to be an alpha male? Do I want to appear confident, even if it's just a facade? Do I want to appear intimidating? Or is it that I feel I missed what I call "rites of passage" while I was growing up, like playing sports or winning a fistfight or getting girls to like me? Things males traditionally want that I presume give them the confidence to feel like real men - things I couldn't have because I was too busy carrying around a dark cancer inside me known as CSA.

The truth is, I don't know. All I know is that I don't feel like a man, and when I'm with other men, I feel like they are judging me (whether or not they really are). In those situations, I feel like I fail their scrutiny. I feel like they don't want me around, and that, in turn, makes me feel like an outsider to my own gender. That hurts my feelings. I had enough of being ostracized in my youth; I don't want to carry it with me the rest of my life. frown

Anyway, like the title of this thread says, I'm still trying to understand masculinity. Any thoughts you have are welcomed.

Bobcat
_________________________
You don't have to be perfect to be wonderful.

Top
#464296 - 04/20/14 12:29 PM Re: Trying to understand masculinity [Re: TheBobcatAgain]
DavoSwim Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

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

I've read this thread several times and it resonated with me. I've been trying to figure out what it means to be a man. I keep thinking that real men don't let themselves be abused. I keep thinking that I lacked masculinity and that led to abuse. That thinking is so wrong. I never stood a chance. It had nothing to do with being a man or not- I was a f***** kid, overpowered by my priest abuser. I escaped once and he caught me.

I came of age, when it was trendy for women to say that they wanted a "sensitive" man. It was also the time that "macho" was used as a put-down. It just left me confused.

I am having trouble finding out what it means to be a man. My dad was a great example, but my thoughts that real men don't let themselves be abused has interfered with our father-son relationship.

I do like sports - but not football or hockey. I would never go to a game with buddies or spend a Sunday afternoon watching the game. I prefer individual sports. I would never ever go hang out with the guys over a beer. I prefer being by myself.

I don't think myself as feminine. I don't really like shopping or cooking or things.

As I try to think of what it means to be a man, I think it means being strong, and protecting others. It means doing things and not just talking about things. It means not being afraid to admit who you are and what you like to do.

I appreciate this thread. It's good to know that other people have this same struggle. It has helped me a lot.

Dave

Top
#464315 - 04/20/14 11:25 PM Re: Trying to understand masculinity [Re: TheBobcatAgain]
JayBro Offline


Registered: 11/13/12
Posts: 271
Loc: Germany
Originally Posted By: TheBobcatAgain

JayBro - You wrote, "...it is through vulnerability and other non-stereotypical male traits that I have been able to re-affirm my masculinity." Can you explain that to me? It sounds useful.

Your idea of group therapy/weekend retreats is a good one. I went to a WoR 4 years ago - and it was great - but I didn't talk about my lack of masculinity; I concentrated on my CSA. I would attend a group session to talk about masculinity, but I haven't the money to afford to go to one just now.


Hey Bodcat!

Well by that quote regarding vulnerability, I was referring to acknowledging my feelings and life experiences, as well as not worrying about if my interests and personality are "manly" enough or not. I found that being my authentic self, other authentic men who are comfortable with themselves and enthusiastic about the world around them have gravitated towards me. It is a leap into the unknown and a very vulnerable situation for one to put themselves out there, but there are many rewards because it enables one to make deeper connections with other individuals. Personally, sticking to superficial, mindless social expectations and stereotypes of what a man "is" only left me feeling empty and disconnected from others. I wasn't being myself and truly growing as a man... instead I was a robot without the software to host authentic individuality. wink

You will find that "men" are simply "people" with all kinds of interests, world views, abilities, appearances etc. The feeling of lacking a masculinity is more a symptom of a larger identity crisis and self-exploration which is not solely dependent on your gender. The men who I am friends with are straight, bisexual, and gay; they like sports and hate sports; they are nerds and they are jocks; they make a lot of money and live paycheck-to-paycheck etc etc...however what makes me connect with them beyond superficial labels or interests is their emotional intelligence. They are open to expressing themselves authentically, and likewise they encourage others to do so around them. When that happens, everyone involved in the encounter feels self-affirmed for who they are. "Real men" don't put down other men for existing and "real men" don't see difference as an invitation for hate or feel threatened by it.

It is not seen as a manly trait to be yourself (whoever that may be!) and allow yourself to be vulnerable, however the men who go down this path end up being the men most secure with themselves and most happy with life.

The men's CSA group therapy that I am a part of is free of cost and run by an organisation (essentially an NGO) which runs programs for abuse survivors and helps in on-going investigations. In this city there are also a number of other groups run by different services and they are too are all free. While every jurisdiction is different, maybe there exists something similar where you are?
_________________________
,,Nun ging es immerzu, weit, weit bis an der Welt Ende."

Top
#464940 - 05/04/14 03:29 PM Re: Trying to understand masculinity [Re: TheBobcatAgain]
TheBobcatAgain Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/13/10
Posts: 507
Loc: AZ, U.S.A.
Dave,

Thank you for commenting. Like you said, it's nice to know you're not alone. I'm sorry masculinity was/is so confusing for you, too. But I'm glad you realize that your lack of masculinity wasn't responsible for your abuse.

I like what you said about being strong - not just physically but also not being afraid. I think those are pretty masculine traits and ones I would like to have.

Thanks again, brother!

Bobcat
_________________________
You don't have to be perfect to be wonderful.

Top
#465410 - 05/16/14 06:40 PM Re: Trying to understand masculinity [Re: TheBobcatAgain]
learning2luvme Offline


Registered: 06/12/12
Posts: 49
You know sexual identification has been as much a mystery for me as it has been for many here so I kind of developed too personalities, the latter of which evolved out of abuse and trying to become something i wanted to become as opposed to always being the broken little boy.

There is no doubt the abuse screwed up my identity and forced me as a child to behave differently as my abuser was a straight married male although he was very old.

I became very afraid of men and thus built an alter ego personality that was capable of being around men and trying to be more like them in order to survive. My ultra masculine personality developed like a coping mechanism.

In the end, my wife fell in love with my sensitive side and the uber successful personality meant nothing to her.

Graciously she has hung in there with me through the twists and turns of a CSA thriver.

Btw. I live in Phoenix. Perhaps we should start our own support group in AZ. There is probably enough of us.

In the end I Am "learning to love me" and embrace all facets of my personality. I may not be the most masculine guy in the world but anymore....I don't care. Nobody judges me anymore and I have gotten too strong and too old to let people try to change me.

Happy Healing!

L2LM

Top


Moderator:  ModTeam, TJ jeff 

I agree that my access and use of the MaleSurvivor discussion forums and chat room is subject to the terms of this Agreement. AND the sole discretion of MaleSurvivor.
I agree that my use of MaleSurvivor resources are AT-WILL, and that my posting privileges may be terminated at any time, and for any reason by MaleSurvivor.