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#51800 - 07/06/03 10:40 AM How do you form friendships?
jimrh Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/22/03
Posts: 273
Loc: Roswell, GA
I've been told numerous times by therapists and read in countless recovery books that part of the recovery process for sexual abuse is to learn to form real same - sex friendships, not necessarily based on sex itself but rather on true intimacy.

Does anyone know what that is? Beyond that, if you've built walls or coping mechanisms for survival that include exclusion of or rejection of close relationships, then how do you get beyond it?

If you want desperately to love another man, but are afraid because you have been mortally wounded by first your father, then at least more than one other male after that, how can you trust? Maybe some of us are just destined to be relationship failures?

I only want to love (and not be rejected). I have been rejected numerous times and it's so painful I cannot describe.

How do I love?


Jimmer


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#51801 - 07/06/03 11:07 AM Re: How do you form friendships?
Nathan LaChine Offline
Webmaster
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/22/03
Posts: 5378
Loc: Washington State
Jim,

I think it takes time to find and grow in a loving and caring relationship. I am not the best person to be giving this kind of advice but in all true relationship they take time. You ahve to grow together. Give your self time. What did your T say? If you love a person with all your hearth adn soul and they lov eoyu tell them why it is hard for you to trust them or have intercourse or talk about how you feel or what every. I have found that talking things out with my parner has made all the differnce in our relationship.


lots of love, Nathan


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#51802 - 07/06/03 02:31 PM Re: How do you form friendships?
James_dup1 Offline


Registered: 04/13/02
Posts: 1332
Loc: Wyoming
Jim,
I would have to agree with Nathan. It takes time, it also take work. Both of you have to want the same thing. So be honest with your feeling when you do find that friend. Honesty is the only way and friendship is made. Good luck
James

_________________________
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#51803 - 07/06/03 03:11 PM Re: How do you form friendships?
Sans Logos Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 5791
Loc: in my own world in pittsburgh,...
Jimmer,

This is one of those questions that make me think of such difficulties as defining the word "it".

I really believe that the "it" in this case defies definition. The path is the definition. There is no presription for love, no matter how many people write books to make it seem as if there is a "way" or a "how to". Just like there is not one path to "truth". There is just the journey.

For me a place to start was beginning to understand about my inner reactions to outside stimulii. Why does a certain sensory stimulus invoke a particular action or reaction. What does it resonate with from a past experience with like circumstances. How am I continually making choices in my personal evolution that are based on choices that just don't produce helpful results? How can I step outside of the issues and become more objective? Is is possible that there is another way to respond to this situation? These are all questions I ask myself. Hopefully I will give myself "correct" (re: non deceitful, non-judgemental responses), and I will check out my thinking with other trusted persons (although they are few and far between). The ones that care about me and my well-being the most, are the ones whose opinions really matter, because they have my best interests at heart. Learning to trust my own judgments and those of a few others is crucial in developing intimacy.

Intimacy must be developed with myself before I can manage to build significant intimacy with another. This takes a loooooonnnnnnnggggg time. When I was growing up I was trying to make myself live by the>
_________________________
  1. the past
  2. ReClaiming Now
  3. advocacy


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#51804 - 07/06/03 03:49 PM Re: How do you form friendships?
MrDon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/08/01
Posts: 957
Loc: Deltona, FL
I was told the same thing that I needed to form relationships with males and females (but more males because that is the bulk of my abuse). At the time, it sounds good, you've got the facts, now how in the heck do I do that and I probably said something very similar to my therapist at the time. I had no clue how to go about this and so I sort of just hung it on the coat hanger at the time.

Then I began to do things to repair all the little gaps in my life that I had. I started to really work on moving myself through the pain and the crap of the past towards what I thought I wanted my life to be (although I wasn't real sure at the time). I started to work on my boundaries so that I could venture outside my door without being scared into anxiety attacks. I began to find little ways that I could speak up for myself and let my voice get out there. I began to grow a little, get a little stronger... and as I did, I kept taking some risks in my life (good risks that is) and by that I mean confronting fears. If I could name the fear I would put the name of it down on paper and then I would get creative in identifying ways to attack it. These things just continued to increase and grow and as the more I did, the more further I could go. Kind of like training to run a marathon.. you don't do it all at once.

But then "bop" all of the sudden one day I noticed that I was developing more relationships than I realized. I was so hard on myself at this time that I couldn't see nor would I let myself see these. But they were there and they grew very very slowly.

And a 3.5 years ago, I met my partner which was like the ultimate test of how far I had come in this. Up until this point I wasn't ready for heavy duty relationships but this one finally happened. And in the 3.5 years of our relationship, I have learned much more about myself and about my partner than I realized was possible. We have both grown as a result and we both continue to grow individually and as a couple.

AT the same time, I see that other relationships outside of my partner are growing as well and I am able to keep a healthy balance with them for the most part. Of course during this time, some people that I thought were close friends turned out to be the opposite and I can more clearly see that my life has progressed beyond these friendships. And maybe these friendships were just meant for a short period of time and it may be that my life has just grown in so many ways, that these friendships were more negative than positive for me.

I think as you are healing, you will form those friendships. They will happen as you look inside and excavate all that you don't want inside of you. Of course taking risks as you go will help this as well like it did with me. And of course, this didn't happen all at once nor was it a piece of cake. In fact during most of this time, you would have heard me scream out in rage that "I ain't ever going to make it through this"....

but I am...

So keep on doing what you're doing... keep working, keep hoping and keep forgiving yourself.

Don

_________________________
In order to journey to new worlds, we must first be willing to lose site of the shore.

The Mind Body Thoughts Blog
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#51805 - 07/06/03 11:04 PM Re: How do you form friendships?
martin Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/08/03
Posts: 229
Loc: The Good Earth
Jimmer,

Ron & Don gave some very good advice on this topic. It makes a lot of sense to work on and confront these issues in a methodical way. I think it will lead to small successes that will help you build the confidence it takes to take bigger risks.

Not that I am any expert. Its an issue that I want and have to work on as well. I have traditionally been withdrawn and very much a loner. Something that has caused a lot of pain as well as the inevitable feeling of missing out on life.

Something else I heard here seems very important in this area and that is trust. It takes a lot of time to heal your sense of betrayal so that you can trust again. Or maybe not so much heal it but move beyond the hurt, which maybe the best we can expect. But what is important I believe is the idea that we are worthy of trust and worthy of expecting trust in return. I think that is an empowering idea.

It was said to me and I've thought a lot about it recently, that developing trust and intamacy requires time of course and healthy boundaries. This healthy boundaries idea kinda blows my mind a little. LOL! But basically its only disclosing a little at a time to let the relationship grow. Kinda like tending a garden, you don't want to much fertilizer all at once but you need some to help it grow. At least thats how I am coming to understand it.

This is hard, and I'm just starting it myself so I am anxious about it, maybe impatient, which is counter productive I assume. But I think the learnig process here is really living life. I mean that nobody is born knowing all this or how to relate everyone learns. So its kinda like I'm finally joining the human race. Kinda scary, but hopeful.

I think this can be a good place to start, you can test the waters of intamacy here and its safe. In fact even posting the question you did is being intimate and bonding.

Ok, don't want to go on to long. I'll just add the hold stand-by which is very true: it takes time. So be patient, good to yourself, and be honest with yourself.

Take Care my brother
Aaron

_________________________
Its times like these we learn to live again,
Its times like these we give & give again,
Its times like these we learn to love again,
Its times like these time & time again.
-The Foo Fighters

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#51806 - 07/07/03 03:11 AM Re: How do you form friendships?
Ivanhoe Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/19/03
Posts: 1907
OK, I hope ya'll don't think that I'm going all mushy on ya, but here goes.

I never got so excited in my life when I found you guys. I thought that I had found my tribe, my gang--my daughter refers to hers as her, "peeps," as in, people.

One night I met a guy in the chat room. During our time together he had to tend to a daughter--you know, go to her in the middle of the night, pick her up, get the medicine, and, "daddy her," some. She later fell asleep as we continued to chat.

What can I tell you? The guy was a candidate for me, to be a friend. Anyone who can daddy kids like that has a place in my friendship heart.

Ya, there are characteristics that appeal to me, and compassion is a big one.

I've got a couple of dreams for friendship in the works and one of them is the conference coming up in September--I hope that my ideas for getting together with the guys from the site don't conflict too greatly with the sessions of the conference. Frankly, I see getting together with some of the people from here just as important as some of the sessions themselves.

The other dream is working it out to have lunch with a couple of the guys from Oregon who I've gotten to know here. I figure that we could get four of us together for a meal with a two hour drive each. We may stumble for words and never get beyond, "ball scores," but it's worth a try.

I'm hoping that someday, we, us, can make it possible for more of us to get together as friends in either small groups, or small gatherings.

Either way, I think it takes reaching out, daring to try and risk rejection. But you know what? I think that we've been just waiting for each other.

Love and friendship,

David

_________________________
"No soul is desolate as long as there is a human being for whom it can feel trust and reverence."
George Eliot

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#51807 - 07/07/03 03:31 AM Re: How do you form friendships?
jimrh Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/22/03
Posts: 273
Loc: Roswell, GA
Guys, after re-reading my original post and your responses, I realized I left out an important element in my question.

See, as part of the therapy process, it seems to be necessary to form normal, intimate relationships/friendships with other HETERO males. It would be quite easy to open up and tell all your sorid tales to another MS.ORG survivor, but when it comes to a normal guy as opposed to someone like me, a fag, then how do you get past the wall that ultimately will come up the second they realize that you are queer?

I recently (ok, 3 months ago) had an experience that opened my eyes to this as well as a recent one from just two weeks ago.

My first experience had to do with my wife calling a church deacon (Catholic) who I admire because he is a retired lawyer and someone who has probably the best knowledge of Church history, the Catechism and Church policy, not to mention he is a great public speaker,...etc. So she thought I needed a friend (I know him but only from talking a few times with him) and proceeded to call him up, make an appt for me to talk to him and told him that my problem is with internet pornography and masturbation and hinted at same-sex-attraction. So he agreed to meet me, and after I pulled myself off the ceiling from the shock of her doing this, I agreed to meet him. It was a disaster, because he was so nervous and clearly didn't know how to deal with this issue. So his response was to claim ignorance on why we were meeting. I want to DIE right there. My reaction, which was just short of throwing up in front of him was to cry. He didn't comfort me, he didn't do anything. He clearly could not do anything except watch me (in disgust?). I haven't spoken to him since.

The second example is my boss who I've known for 6 years now. I told him a couple of weeks ago about my whole situation. His response? Make jokes about fags and asking me if I'm a pitcher or catcher. I thought he was my friend.

My suspicion is that 99% of all normal, hetero males will reject as disgusting, vile and with contempt any guy who comes out to them.

So what do you do?

Jimmer


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#51808 - 07/07/03 09:57 AM Re: How do you form friendships?
Sans Logos Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 5791
Loc: in my own world in pittsburgh,...
Jimmer,

Now this is a course of different hollar!

My god man, how terrifying!

Here's what I know: I have worked in the RC church for 25 years as a music minister, and as a teacher. Raised my kids in parochial grade/high school. Boy do I know this territory like the inside of a survivors soul.

Rule #1: Most church agents at the parish level are simply not equipped to handle such things. These guys, god bless them, are, I presume well-meaning, but the church, god bless her little tighty-whities, is in the business of manufacturing breeders, not quelling the tortured souls of survivors of sexual assault. At least not yet anyway. With people like TheDean working his wiles from within the institution, we are on our way to paving the yellow brick road for survivors. There is just too much perfidy in the church right now to even begin to hear about such struggles as yours. You and what you represent are a scathing indictment to the white hetero male.

One of my "friends" is a deacon who is about 65 years of age, and we have one thing in common: we are both recovering alcoholics. Would I disclose my "real" struggles? I hardly doubt it, because I really do think it would change our relationship forever. After all, he is a guy who buys into all that the church says is truth, and clearly has not thought "outside the box". I love him though, because he is firmly seated within himself and does a lot of good for people.

Ya wanna learn how to be a heterosexual family man, go to the church. Ya wanna learn about how to be a recovering survivor, get in the line to rich or mic or vic or................... you catch my drift, these guys are offering the best resources available which can quell the demons that dog us. We are at a point in time where we are beginning to set the stage for our society to be able to deal with future victims of this dread dis-ease. But we are not there yet. That's where we come in.

Lord, to whom shall we go: Right now, we can't go to the mountan, the mountain has to come to us. You wanna see a miracle? Stick around.

"Why stand staring at what has gone before, don't get lost in things of the past. I said he will begin something new, it's beginning already, haven't you heard?"


Now, we're talkin'


Ron

_________________________
  1. the past
  2. ReClaiming Now
  3. advocacy


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#51809 - 07/07/03 10:22 AM Re: How do you form friendships?
outis Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 2259
Loc: Maryland USA
Quote:
See, as part of the therapy process, it seems to be necessary to form normal, intimate relationships/friendships with other HETERO males. It would be quite easy to open up and tell all your sorid tales to another MS.ORG survivor, but when it comes to a normal guy as opposed to someone like me, a fag, then how do you get past the wall that ultimately will come up the second they realize that you are queer?
Jim,

A "normal" guy is one who doesn't let his own fear control how he responds to another human being reaching out in friendship. My God, what a terribly lonely life those people must live. Imagine always being unsure if the people you want to call "friends" are hiding something that would "disqualify" them. "I thought you were my friend, and now you tell me you're a registered Democrat!"
(Another attempt at sarcasm. I'm not a registered anything. Fill in your own target group if you don't like what I've written. Thanks.)

Jim, there are decent people out there. Fear makes it hard to reach out to them, but a lot of my fear has been purely irrational. My wife and T tell me that I need some same sex relationships. I think I'm getting some of them right here, but I have a hunch they're going to want me to meet people face to face, to go fishing or help paint a garage or get to a ball game or something. I'll work on it, and I'll watch this thread for more ideas.

Please don't buy into the "normal is hetero" myth. Normal is being a decent human being, and that is not correlated with sexual orientation at all.

Quote:
My suspicion is that 99% of all normal, hetero males will reject as disgusting, vile and with contempt any guy who comes out to them.
I don't know how realistic that is. Your boss's behavior sounds like that of a jackass to me. The deacon sounds like he doesn't know as much about God's love as he might about Church beauracracy.

My suspicion is that 99% of all fearful, ignorant hetero males will reject out of their own inadequate understanding anyone who trusts them enough to be open with them. I can imagine them recoiling in horror upon meeting a registered Republican (see, equal time, don't flame me.) who disagrees with their own agenda.

Jim, you are a good man. You are doing good for your children by examining your own life and working to improve how you live it. That goodness will show in your relationships with decent people, and there are decent people out there.

Thanks,

Joe
Speaking only for himself.
Not allied with any sect, denomination, political party, etc...

_________________________
"Telemachos, your guest is no discredit to you. I wasted no time in stringing the bow, and I did not miss the mark. My strength is yet unbroken…"—The Odyssey, translated by W.H.D. Rouse

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