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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

_________________________
I have more issues than Rolling Stone!


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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
http://mindbodythoughts.blogspot.com/

Check out my relaxing piano music from the heart!
http://www.donshetterly.com

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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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#51810 - 07/07/03 01:10 PM Re: How do you form friendships?
uncertain Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/18/03
Posts: 22
Great subject. I am in my thirties and I have always had trouble making friends (and keeping the ones I have). Especially friendships with men. If a man is at all aggressive or aloof, I cannot stand to be in the same room. It's a problem I know. To be honest, I feel like the other guy in almost any circumstance is automatically judging me and seeing me as a useless excuse for a man. I got some problems here I know. I am going to sit back and read some more posts and hope I get some more hints.


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#51811 - 07/07/03 01:28 PM Re: How do you form friendships?
godsrabbit Offline
Member

Registered: 06/18/03
Posts: 98
uncertain,

i am with you...i have been reading along with this thread trying to find constructive tips and not be so self-critical.

i have very few male friends and those i do have conveniently travel a lot or are otherwise inaccessible...or else i travel a lot and make myself inaccessible....

i know i do that by design...i have wretched trust issues...i am too defensive and too paranoid to let people get anywhere near me (physically or emotionally)...i have always been one of those people who says: of course i will be your friend, just leave me alone....

i am mostly okay with my solitude when it is a choice...and it is often my choice...but i am occasionally self-isolating and i know that is not healthy...

thank you all who have contributed here...it is helpful...

~ rabbit


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#51812 - 07/07/03 02:33 PM Re: How do you form friendships?
Ivanhoe Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/19/03
Posts: 1907
Well, look at that, would ya, I wrtie a love letter to you guys and you start analyzing this thing called friendship to death.

Who wants to go to a ball game?

I don't?

Who says that I have to?

I got your ball game game right here.

Who says that I gotta do anything that isn't something that I'm not interested in?

All of that "assignment shit," or "homework," where's your heart, for pete's sake?

Mine's here. And it's with these issues.

I don't think that some of you would recognize a friend if he he bit you in the ass.........well, some of you would recoginze that, I suppose.

But don't miss my point.

I'm looking forward to friendship in Minneapolis, god damn it, and you better be ready--a handshake, maybe a hug and some real talk, about some real issues, not some phoney shit about ball scores and how many women or men you layed over the weekend. OK?

Geez, who was that, what's up his butt, has he left the room........

Buddy Dave----David, to you.....

_________________________
"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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#51813 - 07/07/03 03:10 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,...
David,

You left yourself wiiiiiiide open for this:

Quote:
has he left the room........
No, actually, he has left the planet :p

ROFL-ing Ron

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


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#51814 - 07/07/03 04:43 PM Re: How do you form friendships?
SB Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/06/03
Posts: 5
Jimmer


Thinking people are your friends, after you get to know them a bit should be a good quality in any man. I learned the very hard way, a long time ago what you just learned. Most people are very unsensitive, egoistical and egocentrical and abusive in behaviour. in plain street-english thats what we call assholes (excuse the term, please) you say 99% ? well perhaps not that many, but still even if it it were that many, that leaves the 1 % and out of 6 billion people? thats more potential friends than any of us can ever hope to have.

How do you make friends? gosh, good one. I think you more or less bump into potential friends. mostly not the guys you are stuck with at work or any other obligation. I think the first rule should be you find people that are equal to you in social standing. So your boss or deacon would not be my choice, you depend on them to much now.
Try to come in contact with guys who share your interests, hobbies and so on, you'd be supprised there are people out there who want to reach out and are also looking for friends. Loneliness is a wide spread ailment today, you aren't alone in this.
Hope I make any sence to you, good luck

SB


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#51815 - 07/07/03 05:11 PM Re: How do you form friendships?
outis Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 2259
Loc: Maryland USA
Quote:
Who wants to go to a ball game?

I don't?

Who says that I have to?

I got your ball game game right here.
David,

I have got to learn to write more clearly.

What I meant is that I'm sure my wife and T want me to find/form friendships with guys that live around here. I don't think they (wife and T) will be satisfied with me saying, "But I have a lot of friends on MaleSurvivor."

I'm pretty much in the same boat as a lot of the other posters. Outside the guys I've met through this board, I don't have many close male friends. There's no one I'd ask for advice, for instance. I deliberately "steered" my wife towards the female psychologist when we got recommendations from my pastor last year. Even now I don't know if I could work on this stuff with a male therapist.

I'm looking forward to the MN conference, too. And I've already seen the Twins at the Metrodome, so I wasn't planning to try to talk you into a ball game. \:D

Joe

_________________________
"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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#51816 - 07/07/03 06:55 PM Re: How do you form friendships?
jimrh Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/22/03
Posts: 273
Loc: Roswell, GA
Buddy Dave, or David, and Joe......

let me tell you a little story. Three weeks ago, I realized all too traumatically exactly how many friends I do have (I wasn't going to ever post this but something you said David forces me to).

My wife and I had had several days & weeks of ever-increasing arguments and hostility. It culminated with a rage-filled argument in which I practicallly tried to tear my house apart (sparked by her throwing my laptop - my connection to my only friends such as you all - over my 2nd floor deck, busting it to pieces). Making a long story short, I went to jail for three nights and now am subject to a restraining order.

So what does this have to do with the whole friends thing? Well, I realized I had exactly zero, big fat ZERO friends that I could call on for help. Ah, but you say, what about my family? Response from my sister - no, not gonna bail you out Jim, you need this quick, swift kick in the ass. Jail will be good for you. The one person I thought was my friend (my boss)? Nope Jim, you and wife need to work this one out.

So I finally get out of jail (wife and her three sisters took pity on my because I was literally falling to pieces in the jailhouse and was thinking of any way I could possibly find to hang myself). So I then go immediately, that day to talk to my Priest. Did it help? Did I feel like he was a friend. NO. In a much nicer way than my sister....(I needed this kick in the ass).

Having guys such as you on MS.ORG certainly is helpful, but it is no substitute for the real McCoy.

I guess my ultimate fear is this: why in hell would any guy have any interest in spending time with me, getting to know me? It's never happened (except through online chats here, etc).

Don't get me wrong about developing friendships here through MS.ORG...but David, we are here because of some traumatic things that happened to us and we share in that common pain. I see it sort of like if you were a Chinese immigrant to the US, and spent your entire life within the walls of the Chinese community. Isn't there more beauty to the USA and to all the people there than just your small world confined by self imposed boundries be they language or culture?

Actually something just hit me, because of the commonality of our issues....and seemingly common problem with forming natural, normal, intimate non-sexual relationships with other males, maybe this is the wrong forum to be asking the quesion.

Now I kinda feel bad for starting this impossible post in the first place. Sorry guys.

Just some thoughts.


Jim


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#51817 - 07/07/03 08:08 PM Re: How do you form friendships?
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Jimmer
the reaction of the Priest and your boss is so.....I'm lost for words. They just don't deserve their positions. They have positions of trust and respect, and they have failed miserably.

Quote:
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?
This was from your earlier post, and all the did was reinforce it. And ignorance is NO EXCUSE, they failed you on every level.

I'd copied the bit from your early post before I saw the later one, and I was going to say that in my experience people don't think these things, but I guess I've been lucky in that everyone I've shared my past with has been supportive and understanding in their own way.

I was also going to say that if you did come up against such bigotry and hate then "fuck em" they don't deserve the shit off your shoes let alone your friendship.

There are good decent people out there Jimmer, believe me there are. but I know it's going to take a long time time before you go looking again after that experience, which is a shame because you've made the effort.
I must say though, keep trying, those guys that just turn around and say "yeah ! if ever you want to talk about it try me" are out there, and they're worth finding.

I hope we can help until then.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#51818 - 07/07/03 08:25 PM Re: How do you form friendships?
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Now my anger at the a*****s has subsided a bit, let me talk about my friends.

Most of my true friends are ones that I've met through my passion for 4x4's, and the involvement with a club for over 10 years.
Some know my past, maybe the gossip means they all know - I don't know or care really.
If they do know it can't bother them any because they treat me the same as they always did, trust me - even with their kids - and don't treat me as some kind of perv'.

I keep banging on about it here, but I so believe that we need something other than our SA and all that goes with it to keep us grounded, and to give us a break.
It doesn't matter what it is, a chess club or skydiving. If you can do it, always wanted to do it, then go and do it.

my friends outside the club are the same, and although I said that nobody has ever reacted badly to knowing my past, there are friends I've moved on from. But that's because I've changed and they might not have. We haven't fallen out, just drifted apart.

Friends don't gravitate to us, we have meet them halfway.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#51819 - 07/07/03 08:25 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,...
Jim,

Will you please knock it off with the "normal" stuff already? Where the hell, who the hell is normal anyway?

Hearing you speak this way makes me feel as if you are somehow labeling me, by association, as flawed somehow for having to be here. I don't concur!!!!! I find these innuendo's to be disparaging at best. Please snap out of it!

Jim, if you were poor, there is a chance you could become rich. If your were ignorant there is chance that you could become edjumacated. If your eyes were really bad, there is a chance that you could have your vision corrected with surgery. If you had small breasts, you could get implants.

If you were born black, you will never have white skin. If you were born straight, you will not by nature be gay. If you are alcoholic, forget ever taking a drink again. You have been sexually abused, and you cannot undo the effect that this has had on you.

Jim, we have all been sexual abused here. We cannot turn back the clock and make things as if they had never happened that way. The only thing we can do is ACCEPT and then SURRENDER and MOVE ON. This is not a bad place to be. This is a good place to be. A fantastic, phenomonal place to be. This place is a gift from god, a paradise.

Be righteously angry. Have a conniption fit. Get it out of your system. But please don't come here with shame and remorse. This place is a haven for survivors, not a hospital for victims.

I don't mean to sound cross or condescending, but I do hope that you can turn your attitude around. I know you have been through hell, but this place is your ticket out.

I am sorry if I went too far, please forgive me. I wish for nothing less than your highest and best.

Ron

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


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#51820 - 07/07/03 09:38 PM Re: How do you form friendships?
guy43 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/17/02
Posts: 450
Loc: Minnesota
Jimmer,

I'm sorry for your bad experiences of late.

jer


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#51821 - 07/07/03 10:52 PM Re: How do you form friendships?
jimrh Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/22/03
Posts: 273
Loc: Roswell, GA
Ok guys, first of all, I apologize sincerely for asking this question as I realize now it is one better suited for someone like my therapist or maybe some self-help books.

Where or how do we get the moderators to remove posts like this one?

I'll back off, I understand that I should not have posed this question because it is completely unfair to the rest of you. I also should not have posted all that crap about myself. I am really sorry guys.

All the best to you all.

Jim


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#51822 - 07/07/03 11:10 PM Re: How do you form friendships?
ScottyTodd Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 02/12/03
Posts: 1561
Loc: Pennsylvania
Jim - I support Lloydy (Dave) in the way he suggests making friendships. This is a formula that works for me. You can make friends with those who share something in common. It can be with another survivor BUT your focus of the friendship will be connected by your CSA. You need wider circles. Like Dave shared, something in common could be chess, sports, reading, study group, religion, hikers - whatever 'floats your boat'. Then build from that foundation of common interests. Some of those friends may click with you - therefore they become good friends, etc. etc. One level at a time. As you share your interest (things you know and are comfortable with), your relaxed interaction will help you step further in friendship. Go as slow as you want, share as much as you are comfortable sharing. NOTE: We survivors usually have boundary problems. When we begin making friends we share too much, too soon and either scare them or ourselves. Play it cool and take your time.

Hope this helped!!

Howard

_________________________
If you think you can or you can't - you're right!.......anon
It's never too late to have a happy childhood!.....anon
You're very normal for the abnormal situation you've been through..............S. Todd

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#51823 - 07/08/03 05:22 AM Re: How do you form friendships?
Ivanhoe Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/19/03
Posts: 1907
Gosh, I'm sorry, Jim, I got a little carried away trying to be funny. You were hurting and I must have sounded like some kind of nut.
You should be asking questions like that and no apology is needed for telling us about your trials; for God sake, that's what this forum is all about.
I don't know what I would have done if my wife had layed me so bare before a potential friend; tearing up the house would have been the least I would have done.
Please know that I do hear you about the importance of friendship and I don't take it lightly.
Please call so that I can apologize in person. That number is good day or night--I have more time during the day, however.

Your friend,

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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#51824 - 07/08/03 07:09 AM Re: How do you form friendships?
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Jim
Quote:
I'll back off, I understand that I should not have posed this question because it is completely unfair to the rest of you. I also should not have posted all that crap about myself. I am really sorry guy
Don't even think about it ! there's nothing wrong with your post at all.

Sharing our 'crap' is how we lighten the load, so do what needs to be done Jim.
You share - we listen - we share - you listen. That's the way it works here.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#51825 - 07/08/03 07:35 AM Re: How do you form friendships?
jimrh Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/22/03
Posts: 273
Loc: Roswell, GA
Guys,

I'll see if I can get it right this time. What I did was play the "whoa is me" victim card once again and I should not have done that.

Ron is right, this is a haven for survivors, not hospital for victims. I was trying to get that across earlier by apologizing for doing what I did and it didn't quite work as I can see from Dave and David's posts.

I was trying to explain that I indeed shouldn't have posted anything about my feelings = of shame and remorse (trying to agree with Ron).

That is not something that can be seen as anything other than whining and I need to leave my feelings to my therapist and my journal. Maybe, or rather hopefully I've explained myself a bit better this time around?

Jim


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#51826 - 07/08/03 08:36 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,...
Jim,

I am sorry. I should not have said "don't come here with shame and remorese". I have no right to say that. I am really, really glad you are here, and in my rant never meant to imply that you should go away. I guess I was just sensing you were displaying a little of the "poor me"'s and just had a knee jerk response.

I do understand your sense of powerlessness having to deal with all this crap alone on the other end of the computer screen. Regarding the subject of making friends, I think it is a load of crap to imply that there is a "formula" for doing this, and the insinuation by a therapist that one is flawed because thay can't do this is not helpful.

Making friends is something that happens naturally between two people. It is a decision that two people agree upon together and they are built upon mutually decided terms of endearment, either spoken or unspoken. Building friendships has to do with building trust between two people. This takes a huge chunk of time out of a person life.

I have a lot of acquaintences but only two very close friends and guess what, they are female. I think of all the males I know, and I realize that they are very good men, but Jim society is not made for ones like us. We have a different orientation than the average male. We have different needs than the average guy. Still, feeling friendless is a very lonely feeling.

I see the establishment of this website for us male survivors as important as the establishment of AA for alcoholics. The fellowship we get here, we cannot find anywhere else. I know it is just cyberspace for now, but I think it is important to not minimize the importance of being able to have a place like this be part of our daily life. Hey I would rather dance in cyberspace with a bunch of other ghosts than dance alone inside my head.

I don't know you Jim, but I have a great feeling of compassion concern and love for you. If it were possible, I would be thrilled to be your friend, a part of your daily life. O wow! aren't you lucky?! All kidding aside, I really hope that you are able to find satisfaction with what MS has to offer while you work toward excavating the potential that you have for building friendship in "real" life.

Your brother in the struggle,

Ron

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


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#51827 - 07/08/03 05:24 PM Re: How do you form friendships?
The Dean Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 2080
Loc: Milwaukee, WI
Jim, I believe that your question that started this thread is one that a whole bunch of us has asked ourselves. It is a good thread.

Sometimes we need to whine. I used to go to cardiac rehabilitation. There was a sign there that said: NO WHINEING! One of the guys getting rehabilitation turned it around and announced loudly--"I will whine all I want, I pay for the privilege to whine." We all laughed, including the staff.

Whineing is good now and then. And it is good to recognise, I have been whineing--at least for me it is a terrific motivator.

Bob

_________________________
If we do not live what we believe, then we will begin to believe what we live.

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#51828 - 07/19/03 08:01 AM Re: How do you form friendships?
jimrh Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/22/03
Posts: 273
Loc: Roswell, GA
I think I may have stumbled upon the reason why it seems it's hard to make friends (at least for me). What I'm about to say applies to both the dynamics here on malesurvivor.org as well as many other online groups and also my experiences in the real world.

So, I start out in a conversation with someone (another guy) and during the course of the conversation I may begin to reveal some personal issues and maybe ask about him and his situation. We may seem to hit it off, seem interested in continuing the conversation and may even have a rather emotional or intense conversation (like has happened to me here many times).

We get back together online at some point in the future and the kicker is I ask about him and how he's doing, trying to be friendly and empathetic, but low and behold, I either get little to no response, or in some cases I get a response that tells me this guy totally forgot what we talked about just a short time ago.

I think the problem with forming friendships is that I start out with some level of expectation when in fact I believe I should approach human interaction with zero expectations. That way, if I talk to someone and then pass them in life in the future and they don't remember me, then it's no big deal because I never expected them to remember me in the first place.

I have found that conversing with numerous guys here on ms.org might lead you to believe that most guys here are kind, considerate, empathetic, understanding, etc. In fact, everyone here has enormous issues and I can't expect anyone to be the least bit empathetic to anything at all.

It's the same thing that I've been met with on another online group where I've actually been told in person that they have too many issues of their own to be able to hear anyone elses issues or through emails, being told that others can't listen to you because you're whiney and you need some tough love, so toughen up, big boy!

So the ultimate in the dichotomy of forming friendships is if you attempt to do so with a hetero male. You have to play the normal, tough, macho, non-emotional, non-drama, talk only about baseball and football beer drinking, Hooters going kinda guy!

In the end, expectations need to be reset to zero.

Jim


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#51829 - 07/19/03 08:48 PM Re: How do you form friendships?
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Jim
I can't say I agree with you entirely,

Quote:
I think the problem with forming friendships is that I start out with some level of expectation when in fact I believe I should approach human interaction with zero expectations. That way, if I talk to someone and then pass them in life in the future and they don't remember me, then it's no big deal because I never expected them to remember me in the first place.
Don't go back to "zero" that's a bad place to be, I think that if we go there it's saying more about our lack of self esteem than what we expect from others.
I agree we shouldn't expect the whole shooting match from other people until we're very close to them, but we should expect something.
For us to 'expect' nothing gives the impression that we dond't 'deserve' anything; and they're two entirely different things. We DO deserve.

Quote:
It's the same thing that I've been met with on another online group where I've actually been told in person that they have too many issues of their own to be able to hear anyone elses issues or through emails, being told that others can't listen to you because you're whiney and you need some tough love, so toughen up, big boy!
I'm so pleased that you don't say MS does this, I truly believe that we dont. And it's such a shame when other sites descend into this kind of thing, it reinforces the doubts we already have.
If someone told me "you're whiney and you need some tough love, so toughen up, big boy!" I'd probably respond with violence, we don't need that crap.


A lot of the times when we don't get a responce it's dissapointing, and when we're feeling low that feeling is doubled and then some. And I bet we all feel that, I still do after the amount of posts I've put on here, if I think I've put an interesting reply to someone I check that first to see the responce. And if there's none my first reaction is "why ?" I'm as vain as the next man in that respect.
But it's not that the guys are ignoring me, although after all this time I might well understand that, it's more likely that what seems important to me isn't recognised by others as something they can respond to with anything usefull or with any experience.

Quote:
In fact, everyone here has enormous issues and I can't expect anyone to be the least bit empathetic to anything at all.
Again, we can't expect it as a 'right' but I do believe we get it 99% of the time. We all have enourmous issues for sure, but we have a lot in common as well.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#51830 - 07/19/03 09:00 PM Re: How do you form friendships?
ScottyTodd Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 02/12/03
Posts: 1561
Loc: Pennsylvania
Jim, Whyme and all you guys, let me elaborate a little. When you are making friendships,it is like stepping into a garden on a step stone path. First you step on one stone then a second, then a third, etc. If the first stone is named "we share CSA" and that's all you have in common, you have no second stone. If your first step is on "we share CSA", the second step "we share baseball interests", the third "we share vocational interests", then you have a path to share into the garden. If you only share the first step...you aren't gonna go far together. Does that make sense?

Sometimes coming back to a "relationship" finds both persons in different places. One person may feel safe at one point with disclosure while at another point may not feel as secure. Many things may interfere with comings and goings in relationships.

Not that I have all the answers. I don't want anyone to mistake that. My sharing advice comes from my working through issues over a long time.
We all have things that worked for us and I really hope we continue to share! Thanks!!

Hope this helped!!!

Howard

_________________________
If you think you can or you can't - you're right!.......anon
It's never too late to have a happy childhood!.....anon
You're very normal for the abnormal situation you've been through..............S. Todd

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#51831 - 07/20/03 11:13 AM Re: How do you form friendships?
uncertain Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/18/03
Posts: 22
I like the insights you guys are offering.

I have been trying to analyze myself and figure out why I have such trouble making/keeping friends, especially male friends.

Can I be honest? I am so nervous around men. I try to hide it, but I am - even on such a safe place as this message board. Having a simple conversation with another man - in the majority of cases, is a lot of work for me. I am so stressed out, that at the end, I am exhausted. I think even when the other guy seems to want to continue a friendship, I cut myself off because it's just so much work for me.

I tend to feel myself standing outside of myself during interactions with other men, grabbing my own arm and trying desperately to find a way to high-tail it out of there. I struggle against that. I know it is low-self esteem. I have been trying to work on that. But I often find myself isolating myself and then feeling guilty and beating myself up for being so anti-social.

I honestly never think that other men feel the way I do. A huge barrier to me making friends is the fact that my sexual orientation is gay. And I cannot fake the straight thing, and when other men talk to me about girls, I feel so uncomfortable and wonder if they've figured me out or not. So much self-consciousness!

I told a good straight friend many years back that I was gay... he said he was glad I told him and that it didn't make a difference to him nor to any of our other friends... but very quickly communication between us halted and I don't have that friend any longer. Up until now, I have always blamed him for rejecting me. Today I am beginning to see the pattern in my life, and now I think perhaps I was the one who cut myself off.

I know I am blabbering, but honestly it helps to write things down, doesn't it? To risk sharing with other men. It's a start.


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#51832 - 07/20/03 02:31 PM Re: How do you form friendships?
The Dean Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 2080
Loc: Milwaukee, WI
Thank you "uncertain", you share some beautiful thoughts. I see it as a reminder to me, to understand that I can have many fine relationships, if I just take the time to connect with the one I am talking to at the time.

Lots of str8 guys like to talk about girls--they think it is expected of them. They may well be grateful that they don't have to do that with you. I am a priest, so, too many people think that I want to talk religion. Many times, it is the only thing I DO NOT want to talk about, in fact, most ofthe time, it is not what I want to talk about.

Taking a person simply as a person, not gay or str8, not white or black or brown or Asian etc. etc., not as bright or dumb, athletic or not etc is the best way to get to know that person as a person, not as a job or an interest.

Howard's image was a great one for me. If we only have CSA to talk about, we get stuck on the first stone. None of us have only CSA to talk about. Thanks for that image Howard.

Peace to us all.

Bob

_________________________
If we do not live what we believe, then we will begin to believe what we live.

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#51833 - 07/20/03 02:37 PM Re: How do you form friendships?
MrDon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/08/01
Posts: 957
Loc: Deltona, FL
I've got hetero friendships as well and actually a couple of my close friends that are guys are some that I can really talk about all kinds of things. We do talk about our struggles, emotions, etc. Actually if all someone wants to do is talk about "stereotype male things", than I usually tend to stay away from them for the most part. That is just me and I am attracted to people who challenge me, broaden my horizons and talk about different things.

I've gotten to the point that I don't normally say I work with computers when I meet people. Because the first thing that happens is people want to ask me all kinds of questions about computers. And to be honest, after dealing all day with people and their computer/personal problems, I just want to get the heck away from it. I've got a friend who will call me up with computer problems and sometimes I have to tell him, look I've had enough of this stuff today, and call me another time.

There are people out there with substance and some of them are guys. Ya just gotta keep turning over the rocks until you find em!

Don

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

The Mind Body Thoughts Blog
http://mindbodythoughts.blogspot.com/

Check out my relaxing piano music from the heart!
http://www.donshetterly.com

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#51834 - 07/20/03 03:01 PM Re: How do you form friendships?
uncertain Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/18/03
Posts: 22
TheDean, thank you, your post really touched me deeply.

MrDon, thanks for the encouragement to keep turning over rocks. Is there really anything other than slugs and bugs under rocks, lol? Just kidding. \:\)


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#51835 - 07/20/03 04:34 PM Re: How do you form friendships?
MrDon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/08/01
Posts: 957
Loc: Deltona, FL
and if you are like timone or pumba in the lion king, the best delicacies for eating are "under the rocks and the logs"...

I love the Lion King movie!

*smile*

Don

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

The Mind Body Thoughts Blog
http://mindbodythoughts.blogspot.com/

Check out my relaxing piano music from the heart!
http://www.donshetterly.com

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#51836 - 07/21/03 10:12 AM Re: How do you form friendships?
jimrh Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/22/03
Posts: 273
Loc: Roswell, GA
In the end, none of this really matters anyway.


This topic needs to be removed.


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