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#62417 - 06/28/06 01:13 PM a
indygal Offline
Member

Registered: 06/22/06
Posts: 439


_________________________
my avatar is one of the Battle Angel characters, fighting the good fight.

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#62418 - 06/28/06 02:47 PM Re: a
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
Indy,

Don't take this the wrong way, but I think you need to back off a little. You are a strong woman with very strong opinions of how you live your life and how others should live theirs. However, what works for you may not work for your friend. What makes perfect sense to you, doesn't make sense to him. OK, maybe on an intellectual level, but you're not dealing with that. You're dealing with a hurt individual who is protecting himself the only way he knows how. Your way can't work for him because it's completely foreign and frightening.

Keep the lines of communication open, but do it in such a way that he finds once again that comfortable, safe place you were. When my b/f first disclosed to me the last thing in the world that he wanted was follow up conversations. We had to take it very, very slowly. That was hard for me because it was all new to me; I needed to learn a lot and he was my only source, until I found these boards. I made mistakes and I talked too much, but I eventually learned to bite my tongue and learn. We came back around and started again, not from ground zero, but not much above that. I’m OK with that and so is he because too much too soon is just agony and forces things back down rather than into the open.

We are moving forward. He is in therapy. We laugh and enjoy each other’s company. If HE feels the need to talk, we do. If I see something that I think we need to address about US, then I bring it up and we deal. Those conversations are kept about TODAY, not yesterday. He deals with that with his T. I focus on the grown man who is my lover, my friend and the man in my life NOW.

Your strength is not bad; it's admirable, but strength is also knowing when not to use it. I can see that you are a good woman, but you can also be overwhelming. Your angry because he doesn’t see what is so clear to you. I soooooo get that, but it doesn’t make a damn bit of difference. If you don’t let him move at his own pace, all he will do is run

ROCK ON........Trish

_________________________
If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

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#62419 - 06/28/06 03:43 PM Re: a
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Indy,

My own read of the situation is that he is trying to tell you that he feels unsafe when people try to help too earnestly.

I can understand that feeling. A survivor may not be ready for the work that needs to be done, and in fact he may not even have processed what happened to him as a child. An offer to help can sound like a program for action, and for some guys that feels threatening because the program seems too daunting and declining it makes him feel like a failure all over again. This is difficult stuff to describe, I must admit, and I don't feel I am doing it very well.

I would suggest that you wait for opportunities to hint that you care and are anxious to help, but phrase it in a way that gives him the initiative of saying what he can and cannot do.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#62420 - 06/29/06 05:23 AM Re: a
indygal Offline
Member

Registered: 06/22/06
Posts: 439


_________________________
my avatar is one of the Battle Angel characters, fighting the good fight.

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#62421 - 06/29/06 07:10 AM Re: a
Cupcake Offline
Member

Registered: 06/02/05
Posts: 39
Indygal—
Wow. I’ve read your posts and the replies a few times over and have been thinking hard about how to respond. I think part of the problem is that when we come to these boards—you and I—we hear others confirm for us the truth that we wish to deny. So it is hard for us to hear (or read) what we don’t want to hear. We want so badly for someone here to tell us what is going to make us feel better. Sometimes though the truth hurts.

Forgive me in advance if this is a long reply. But I am hoping to help. I read the lines you quoted from your friend differently, I think, from the others here. Of course, I don’t know what the whole of his email said to you, but these lines alone suggest to me that he was cutting off ties or at least suggesting it. I read it as him saying that “you don’t understand me because the words I am telling you don’t have the same meaning to you as they do me. And so since you and I are not understanding each other, there is no point in communicating at all.” In other words, it sounds to me that he doesn’t feel you are understanding him and so that maybe you are better off not talking. And as I recall, when we gave you advise here you had said that the words we expressed were identical to the things he had also said to you. You didn’t want to believe your friend when he told you how he felt, and then when some of us told you the same thing, we confirmed his words to you too.

You said:

I could care less what people do with their lives as long as it doesn't impact me directly.

This is interesting because you repeat this a couple of times. It is important to realize that your friend thinks he is protecting you and himself. You think you are trying to help him. He doesn’t want it. He doesn’t even want to talk about it. So how does that impact you directly? The fact is you really do care here. And that’s not a criticism. It’s only natural to you and I and others who are not survivors. It is not natural for him though to have that desire to reach out or be reached out to. Remember, at some point in his life, somebody failed him by not protecting him, and someone he was supposed to trust failed him. So he is doing what he thinks he needs to do.

When it comes to my friend, for example, slowly he has been learning that there is something good to be found in trusting someone, and in being honest with someone. He will admit to sometimes still having doubts about me and even doubting himself, but this is inherent in his thinking. I believe it be a constant struggle within himself—wanting to believe in me, and then questioning himself for believing at all—because in the past he has experienced nothing good from what I have offered. I bet your friend has the same struggle.

So one of your questions tonight is, what should you respond so that you can keep the lines of communication open. Assuming he has not closed the doors to a friendship, you need to leave his issues alone. I suggest to you that his issues are off limits and you cannot raise the issue with him anymore. If it is ever going to be discussed again, it will have to be on his terms, on his own time. Remember—this is HIS pain, HIS emotions, HIS secret. He owns the issues here, not you. It is not yours and you are not entitled to anything he does not want to share with you. I am afraid that what I am sensing through the posts is some sense of entitlement to demand answers or for him to make some sort of amends with you. Or even that because he is your friend, or to be your friend, he has to do something. I mean—there seems to be some condition attached to being your friend. I am not sure what he did or how he treated you. But if he disrespected you, part of that is testing the limits, part of that is self-preservation again (in other words, he thinks he is worthless, pushes you away, and then when you leave, he rationalizes the abandonment as caused by him being worthless and undeserving). I am not trying to excuse the behavior, but I am trying to provide an understanding of it. Trust me, I’ve been through it. There can be no condition attached to your friendship. If he hurts you, you tell him that he hurt you and it is unacceptable.

My friend a long time ago tested my limits to see what I would or would not tolerate. And he tested me on whether I would keep my promises of unconditional love and friendship. We went through a few weeks of silence---where he refused my calls. It was unprecedented for him to treat me like that. Things he thought would push me away did not. I think the fact that I did not abandon him like he expected proved something to him. The one time this happened, when we finally got to talk about it after the few weeks of silence were broken, I simply said to him “don’t you ever do that to me again. If I upset you, tell me. Don’t ignore me. Because ignoring me and refusing to speak to me is the worst thing you can do to me.” I knew we had made progress when he responded by saying to me “you weren’t the only one suffering. I was hurting too.” We never had to say anything more about the specifics of what led to the few weeks of silence. It didn’t matter. What mattered was we had grown from it and moved past it.

To try and continue your friendship with him though—is complicated by the fact you are now in different places so you are left with email or the phone. If you continue to speak, the first few talks/exchanges will likely be awkward. You are both having to start from a fresh clean slate. Put what you know behind you. Focus on the present and have the same conversation with him that you’d have with another friend, ie what’s happening with work, family, whatever. But stop focusing so much energy and dwelling on what you think happened to him in his past. What do you accomplish by forcing him to admit to it or to discuss it? I only see negatives to that—negatives to him. It will hurt him. What will NOT hurt him is having a normal discussion about everyday things. What will NOT hurt him is being his friend. What will NOT hurt him is no conditions on the friendship. If and when he is ever ready to discuss this, he will. And if and when he does, keep your mouth shut and just listen to the guy. He will say so much more than if you interrupt with questions. Trust me on that.

I hope this helps. There are really no easy answers. No magic formula. But the key here is to be sensitive to the fact that your friend’s feelings are deeply rooted and you can’t control or reprogram him. The only thing you can do is learn to maneuver the minefield so that he still feels safe and comfortable with you. Right now, it doesn’t sound like he does feel that comfort zone. It will take time to rebuild. In the exact words of my friend which ring clearly in my ears as I write this, “trust me. It will be ok. Just give me time.”

My best to you indygal…..
Cupcake


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#62422 - 06/29/06 07:43 AM Re: a
indygal Offline
Member

Registered: 06/22/06
Posts: 439


_________________________
my avatar is one of the Battle Angel characters, fighting the good fight.

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#62423 - 06/29/06 05:08 PM Re: a
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
Indy,

You're not under attack and I'm sorry you feel burned. You're in a difficult place; one that many of us know all too well.

I really don't know what else to say.

ROCK ON........Trish

_________________________
If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

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#62424 - 06/30/06 03:44 AM Re: a
Cupcake Offline
Member

Registered: 06/02/05
Posts: 39
Indygal:
I'm sorry that you feel attacked. I think I had the same reaction to this forum when I first started to visit. What's amazing to me is that my response wasn't aimed at emphasizing the things you mentioned. They were within the context of answering how to talk to your friend again. I spent a lot of time trying to answer your question about how to next communicate with your friend. But I'm not sure you understood what I was trying to communicate to you. I'm sorry. Good luck to you.


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#62425 - 07/01/06 05:46 PM Re: a
lostcowboy Offline
Member

Registered: 11/10/04
Posts: 797
Loc: North Texas
Hi Indygal you can do a search on your name and come up with all your posts. http://malesurvivor.org/cgi-local/ultimatebb.cgi

About your friend, all you know about him is that he is fifty years old, and "We've known each other for over 2 years and there's been no sex whatsoever". He could be a in the closet, male rape victim, a sexually abused victim, a gay male, a straight male that is having sexual problems.

For what ever reason he has opened up communications with you again. I think the first thing you need to do is apologize to him, for saying what you did to him. Something on the lines of.

Dear __________, I am sorry for the things that I said, its just that we have know each other for two years, and I would like for us to get closer together, it is frustrating waiting for you to make up your mind, as to whether we have a future together or not. I couldn't help but wonder if something was wrong, and that is why I said what I did. I __________ you so much, please talk to me.


I don't know if that is the right approach or not, but it would let him know where your feelings are.

While you are thinking on that, go to Male Rape , both male rape victims, and male sexually abused victims, have all these problems.

I know in my case the only times I initiate sexual contact is when I am intoxicated. That includes all the times I had sex with my wife, when we were still having sex, she was the one who had to make the opening move. I don't know why that is, it may have something to do with my huge fear of rejection.

I can relate to your man somewhat, even though I don't know what his problem is. I was raped at knife point in 1968, when I was 11. Back then there was no support for male rape, rape was something that did not happen to men. So somehow this man must of somehow thought that I was a girl. Later when I learned about homosexuals, I thought that was it, a homosexual was attracted to me, and just had to have me, even though I didn't want it. It was not until I read a book on rape in 1992, that I learned that most of the men that rape men think of themselves as heterosexual! What a shock that was.

I don't know that the rape is what is causing my problem, I came across a web site of men that have the same problem, and they were never molested as kids, most people think of them as gay, but they are not Are you love-shy ? I took the test and got a low score, most normal guys get around 125 points, I got 39, which indicates that I am a loveshy guy. I have read the book and a lot of my life seems to fit. I have lately started to think that I may have one of the Autistic Spectrum Disorders. I can remember my mom telling her friends that she had been worried that I had Autism, as I did not start speaking until around four years old. Of the Autistic Spectrum Disorders, Non-Verbal Learning Disabilities (NVLDs): trouble with the gestalt/integration of non-verbal information, seems to fit me the most. I have a problem understanding nonverbal communication. Your friend could have a problem with that also.

I wish you luck, wish your friend.
Take care,
Clifford

_________________________
"Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend." - Albert Camus
Pretty much my life as I have posted so far. Triggers!

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#62426 - 07/03/06 07:05 AM Re: a
lostcowboy Offline
Member

Registered: 11/10/04
Posts: 797
Loc: North Texas
((((((((Indygal))))))))

If anything I wrote upset you. I am sorry! I did not mean to upset you.

Take care,
Clifford

_________________________
"Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend." - Albert Camus
Pretty much my life as I have posted so far. Triggers!

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