Newest Members
Won'tGiveUp, sillyputty, Pytbull, manipulated, donmarks
12383 Registered Users
Today's Birthdays
Alan Fountain (52), blindpet (31), egoror (49), Midas (33), uwa (78)
Who's Online
5 registered (Greg56, highflight, PhoenixRising, pufferfish, 1 invisible), 35 Guests and 7 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
12383 Members
74 Forums
63648 Topics
444519 Posts

Max Online: 418 @ 07/02/12 07:29 AM
Twitter
Topic Options
#466035 - 05/30/14 10:37 PM I am frustrated and don't know what to do...
PhantomMuse Offline


Registered: 02/17/14
Posts: 3
Loc: Chicago, IL
Hi, there,

I have been reading posts for awhile now; I very much appreciate everyone's insight. I am finding myself in a real bind now, and I would like advice from anyone willing to offer me insight.

My back story is a little long, but I think it helps to explain the emotional bind in which I find myself. I have known my partner and best friend since we were young teenagers (we are both in our late 40s now). We were intimate in high school both emotionally and physically, left each other, married others (me once, him twice). We found ourselves interested once again in sharing our lives about three years ago. We currently live in different states and hope to come together permanently in about a year.

My partner suffered repeated abuse as a young boy at the hands of a brother six years his senior. In addition, my partner found himself doing the same to a younger boy after that time. He did so a few times (he was about 12 years old), but has never done so again. We started dating when he was 14 years old, and were together for about three years. When we broke up, my partner immediately began having sexual relationships with other girls. He continued to do so for years with many young women. He married at 26, was faithful for a time, then decided to divorce. At that time, he sparked a few more relationships, finally marrying one of his girlfriends six months after meeting her. That relationship was disastrous for him (and his two daughters) emotionally and financially. He'll likely be trying to move past the financial challenges for the next three or four years.

I was married for almost 24 years, very monogamous, and I am quite old-fashioned. When I met my partner again, we connected on a deep emotional level, and it was at that time that he told me the details of his childhood abuse (I did not know anything when we were teenagers). I have tried to be very supportive and nurturing since this time, but I am recently finding myself feeling angry about his past sexual history (even though he says it meant nothing to him -- and I am sure in some ways it did not). I am seeing him as a man who has not suffered abuse, and I know that is wrong. I need some help to readjust my attitude and my approach toward him -- especially during stressful times (which we often have because we live so far apart).

He does suffer from anxiety, works at a job he despises (but is very obedient and continues to do what others -- including his abusive brother -- have told him is the right thing for him). He takes Abilify because of suspected bipolar disorder or depression, but all medications he has taken seem to affect him negatively. He acts helpless to turn things around; I know some of this is due to his abuse history; is this helplessness a normal response to abuse? He saw a counselor for a very short time, but that was not comfortable for him as the fellow seemed to not understand my partner's needs.

I tend toward babbling on and on, so I'll close now. I guess I need some guidance on what is "normal-ish" for his situation and what I can do to be a better friend. I do love him madly, and I all I want for him is his happiness. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and respond. I am very grateful.

Top
#466063 - 05/31/14 03:15 PM Re: I am frustrated and don't know what to do... [Re: PhantomMuse]
genedebs Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/09/12
Posts: 285
Loc: MO
Dear PhantomMuse,

I was incested by my older brother. This started when I was 10. I was sexually abused by others, also by 4 other perps. Generally, as long as an individual who reenacts his abuse on others, acknowledges his responsibility and is sorry for his actions; they are not considered primary perps.

I too was married 25 years (before she threw me out of the house) - 28 years until the divorce. The issue of suffering abuse for any of us is not normal, so our response to this experience is never normal. I think it is better to look at behavior as common, or unusual rather than "normal" or not "normal."

It is common for individuals with sexual abuse histories to act out through promiscuos sex, both hetero and gay. It is also common to rely on behaviors which conform to their family of origin training, even if the family of origin standards come from the perp.

Abilify is generally prescribed for depression. The potential for anti-depressants to have negative effects on bi-polar, (ie. the exacerbation of manic responses) is not uncommon.

To "be a better friend" begins with acceptance and a willingness to be non-judgemental. Your statement about being quite old fashioned should be tempered by realizing premarital teen age sex is not as old fashioned as you suggest. So perhaps if you were more willing to see your own experiences as less "pure" may be a place to start.

The financial issues are also common for any number of reasons among survivors of sexual abuse. Usually this is part of a pattern of self-sabotage. Helping him to seek therapy is an important component of recovery. It may be easier if you go to couples counselling. Sharing your concerns about being judgemental and suggesting couples counselling as a method of your getting over your own problems may support his seeking the help he needs and provide a way to be more open in your communication.

For most of us, survivors, recovery is a long and difficult journey. You must be patient if you are to be a supportive friend.

Soryy if this sounds like a lecture.

May the Lord Bless and Keep in your struggle.

Top
#466074 - 06/01/14 03:38 AM Re: I am frustrated and don't know what to do... [Re: PhantomMuse]
HD001 Offline


Registered: 07/30/12
Posts: 262
Loc: us
Encourage him to seek therapy. Sometimes it takes seeing a lot of therapists before you find the one who gets it. Encourage him to read books or seek information about men who have been abused. Mike Lews book is a good one.
Try to do thing in a way that empowers him and does not emasculate him. Tell him you believe in him and his ability to take control of his life.
That's my two cents.
_________________________
Everything comes from within

Top
#466081 - 06/01/14 12:47 PM Re: I am frustrated and don't know what to do... [Re: PhantomMuse]
Adam A Gedman Offline


Registered: 08/12/13
Posts: 187
Loc: Canada
Hello PhantonMuse,

I am sorry the reason you need to be here.
I am however encouraged by your willingness to investigate possible ways to help the survivor in your life.

If I could just perhaps point out a connection you may not be able to make yet.
You describe a helplessness in him, and seem confused by this, is this normal, common?
Think about it this way, as a child he suffered abuse at the hands of someone he otherwise believed he could trust. The trust was seriously broken, and he was helpless to stop it. He had no control over the situation what so ever.
What does this mean? This means that he likely feels helpless most of the time. He may feel that there is nowhere that is safe for him, outside his home. He may feel he has no control over any aspect of his life. Ask yourself how it would feel to experience life this way.

What else? He was sexualized as a child and may have an ingrained belief that sex is all he is good for. He is likely unaware of these beliefs, which makes it that much more confounding for him. This also explains the many sexual relationships he participated in. Abuse survivors tend to act out the abuse, this can be in numerous ways, unhealthy sexual activities, sometimes dangerous sexual activities, frequent sexual encounters, self abuse and any other unhealthy sexual activities.
He may have confusion about his sexuality, and may have been trying to prove his "Manliness" by having as many heterosexual relationships as he could, also without the awareness of why he was doing these things.

I would offer that empathy is the best approach. You do not have to condone or support the dysfunction, but you can recognize that he has little control over these aspects of his life at this time.

What you can do to get past this is try to see things differently. Practice presence.
We do not live in our history, nor do we live in our future. We do however live in this very moment. So ask yourself, given that he cannot change what happened in the past, what is it about right now that you cannot live with?
Truly understanding this can help us get past many negative experiences of our pasts.
Try not to judge yourself, empathize with yourself. How could you know any of this, none of us are taught anything about the effects abuse has on people.
Take pride in the fact that you can be aware of your own feelings, and that you are seeking better understanding to allow yourself to offer more effective support for your survivor.

With positive support, your survivor can heal and recover. Therapy is a must, but I don't know how you can convince him. It needs to be self motivated or the sense of being forced into something can feel similar to abuse.

Please note: I am not a therapist, and can only convey things I am aware of, and the way I see them. Consider this food for thought.
I hope this helps you in some way.

Take care and keep well
_________________________
Presence is the key, for all we have is now.
All we ever have is right now.

Formerly Adam A Gedman (AKA - A damAGed man)

But you can call me Kevin

Toronto Mini WoR - May 2014

Top
#466177 - 06/04/14 08:31 AM Re: I am frustrated and don't know what to do... [Re: PhantomMuse]
PhantomMuse Offline


Registered: 02/17/14
Posts: 3
Loc: Chicago, IL
I want to preface my response with a very sincere "thank you" to all for taking the time to read my post and respond with such kindness and generosity. I have spent the past few days reading and re-reading the responses; I feel truly supported.

Dear Genedebs - Thank you for re-directing my use of the word "normal." I think I've been somewhat cavalier about using it without thinking about what I was really communicating by doing so. Using the words "common" or "usual" seem to be more accepting and less judgmental -- a characteristic you rightly pointed out I may need to reign in.

I have thought a lot about your phrase "conform to the family of origin training" and this is a concept I need to continue to think about. We are all products of our environments; I carry good qualities as well as deep sadnesses and challenging behaviors because of my family of origin training. I am profoundly afraid of losing my "emotional place of safety" as deep loss was a recurring and frightening aspect of my growing up years. Thank you for providing a rational way for me to think about that.

The issue of "self-sabotage" is a recurring one in my relationship with my partner. He is really struggling these days to keep his head above water. He has a wonderful doctor who is gentle and understanding and wants to help him withdraw from his use of Abilify, but my partner won't call a supporting doctor (psychiatrist) in order to assist the regular doctor in this process. I can't help him with that as I do not have access to his insurance information and the like. I am seeing this same sort of approach to every challenge in his life right now. If I do not take the initiative, he does not follow-through. I know that he desperately wants the positive "pay-off" of making healthier choices, but his actions move him often in exactly the opposite direction. I like the idea of couples counseling, but we currently live many states away from each other. I know that some therapists offer Skype sessions, so maybe I need to look into that.

HDOO1 - I greatly appreciate the book suggestion. I will find a copy of it. I also appreciate your directness. As I mentioned in my post, I am struggling with being judgmental sometimes; I know that comes from a place of fear rather than love, but I am so lost within this journey sometimes that I just need to feel affirmed myself. I suspect the best thing to do is to look elsewhere for that affirmation as my partner steps into his healing journey. That is a lot easier said than done for me…

Kevin - Thank you for your insight and wisdom. Your words struck me deeply, and I have continued to perseverate on them for the past days. My partner's behavior and speech are often mired in a "helpless" attitude, and you have opened my eyes to what perhaps may be the very simple but difficult reality of the origin of that feeling he seems to carry with him all the time. I think part of the challenge of my journey with him has little to do with him. It has been a very difficult few years for me: my mother passed away, then my father less than a year later. My daughter (an only child who I am very close to) left for college. I lost my job. And so on… I have needed support and encouragement as I travel this path, and my partner's needs have out-shadowed mine. At times, I feel I am being a martyr for his cause and, although he has these struggles, I can't manage all of the drama at times -- as much as I'd like to be able to. Your suggestion of living in the present is so wise. I find myself being far more peaceful when doing so and thinking in that way. I am encouraging him to do the same.

I know that I cannot compel my partner to get the help he needs, so I am going to try and practice acceptance. I have a great fear that if he does not get help, we will not be able to move forward in our relationship. Perhaps if I stay "in the moment," I'll feel more hopeful about our chances.

Thank you again for taking the time to read this and for your thoughtful and kind responses. Wishing you all a most blessed day.

Top
#466251 - 06/05/14 06:44 PM Re: I am frustrated and don't know what to do... [Re: PhantomMuse]
Adam A Gedman Offline


Registered: 08/12/13
Posts: 187
Loc: Canada
PhantomMuse,

Thank you for reply.
I very nearly cried when I read of how my words had affected you.
A good kind of cry, but didn't quite get there. One day I'm sure.

I am new to the whole idea of prescience myself, but find similar results to you.

This can't be everything though. You most certainly can encourage your survivor to pursue the help of a qualified therapist, preferably one specializing in or at least a record of work in this area.

You may try to approach this by summoning his empathy. It sounds to me as you are very worried for him, and if you could identify a need he could fulfill for you, and ask for his willingness to help, this could nudge him in the direction you hope.

Something like..." I am very concerned about ....... I need to know that you're getting the help you need so I can have some peace of mind. Would you be willing to discuss with me a way we can find someone to help you deal with the abuse you suffered? Or are you willing to see someone who has helped other male survivors deal with the abuse they suffered?"

These are only suggestions, but the point is in the way we approach things. Expressing your need, and concern, and trying to illicit a willingness to help fulfill your need.

I would also add, and this is a personal preference, "the abuse I suffered" or he suffered, as opposed to my abuse, or his abuse. Neither he nor I asked for the abuse. Identifying with the abuse, I see as a form of ownership. I do not want to own that sort of dysfunction, and would guess most survivors would feel the same.

I wish you well on your and your survivors journey.

P.S. It may seem new agey, but meditation has helped me in ways I cannot even describe. Some studies have shown great results in people with PTSD, a common diagnosis with CSA survivors. You can find an inexpensive self learn method called NSR (natural stress relief) meditation, if your interested.
pm me if you can't find it, $25 and downloadable.

Take care and keep well.
_________________________
Presence is the key, for all we have is now.
All we ever have is right now.

Formerly Adam A Gedman (AKA - A damAGed man)

But you can call me Kevin

Toronto Mini WoR - May 2014

Top
#466525 - 06/12/14 10:07 AM Re: I am frustrated and don't know what to do... [Re: PhantomMuse]
PhantomMuse Offline


Registered: 02/17/14
Posts: 3
Loc: Chicago, IL
Dear Kevin,

Thank you for your message. I really blew it yesterday and completely lost my cool with my friend. I had been making those gentle suggestions about therapy to him every so often -- in a way quite similar to what you suggested -- and he continues to do nothing to set himself toward that (although he says that he will). I am owning my behavior and my verbal attack, but I am afraid I can't continue on this path with him.

The onus of our relationship challenges (long distance, wacky schedules, his anxiety, my grief following family deaths, etc.) is falling on me alone, and I can't handle it. I lost my temper, yelled, cried, and said hurtful things. I know I am human, but I am embarrassed, deeply saddened, and so sorry for losing it with him. I am confused; how much of his reticence to act is because of the abuse he suffered? Are these patterns of complacency changeable? I feel guilty about expressing my frustration and pain. I suspect that's not a good thing either. The abuse he suffered is one part of his life experience -- albeit a deeply influential part -- and I'm not sure where that ends and everything else begins. As a result, I don't always know when we are having just common relationship issues.

Can you, Kevin, or anyone else offer me insight into this last statement? I have always had trouble setting boundaries for myself with others; I tend to be the one who helps and assists then gets left behind. I so want to cultivate a healthy life with my dear friend, but I seem to have lost my confidence -- and my sensitive good sense and gentleness. I am trying to take care of myself each day, but this is getting so difficult for me…

Thank you again for reading and for any thoughts. A blessed day to all.

Top
#466617 - 06/14/14 05:21 PM Re: I am frustrated and don't know what to do... [Re: PhantomMuse]
Adam A Gedman Offline


Registered: 08/12/13
Posts: 187
Loc: Canada
PhantonMuse,

I am sorry your having difficulty with this. This is not something that we are innately aware of what to say, or how to act or how to just be around others who have suffered abuse. I would suggest that you need to look after you first. I am not suggesting that you cut of any contact, unless that is truly what you need, but you sound like you need some support yourself, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Beginning therapy for me was a pretty frightening idea. Having been abused, I had all sorts of ideas about what that made me. Boys and girls grow up with a tremendous amount of gender socialization, and ideas about what a boy or girl are supposed to be, are drilled into our heads. Just watch TV commercials and notice what they say about what it means to be a man or a woman. We cannot simply ignore those millions of repeated messages we received while we developed.
This is part of the insidious nature of the effects of abuse. We truly don't know what about us has changed, and we will never know who or what we would have been otherwise. It might be safe to say that there isn't a part of him that is unaffected, and all relationship issues are windows into those effects.

The truth for me is that I want real, real emotions, real reactions because i had been essentially playing the role of me. Wearing the mask of myself, well the myself that I thought I was supposed to be anyways.

I am a little out of my element as I cannot see things from the perspective of someone who is trying to support a survivor. You mention boundaries and that may be a good place to start. I read Esposa's comments and healthy boundaries are reiterated frequently. Try to avoid having a deadline in mind of when he should do something, but also set your own boundary of how much time you're willing to commit each week. Maybe 3 calls a weeks as opposed to daily, or only an hour on the phone as opposed to 3. I don't know your time commitment so these are just ideas, but hopefully you get the idea.

I have attached for you to view at you leisure a video interview of Richard Gartner about understanding the aftereffects of boyhood sexual abuse.
There is another article I am trying to find that may give you some insight as well. Ill send you the links since I cannot locate them at the moment.

Please cut yourself some slack, it took me the better part of 40 years to finally take the step towards healing, and yes I believe that all the skewed patterns of behaviour I have can be changed, and some already have.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcUyr1CIW-w
_________________________
Presence is the key, for all we have is now.
All we ever have is right now.

Formerly Adam A Gedman (AKA - A damAGed man)

But you can call me Kevin

Toronto Mini WoR - May 2014

Top


Moderator:  ModTeam, peroperic2009 

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.