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#63673 - 11/30/02 07:37 AM Sister's story - trigger??
Lil Red Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/29/02
Posts: 14
Loc: Oregon
This is my first posting and I have really been struggling with it so if it is long and disjointed, bear with me.

My older brother and I were recently at a family reunion. He had had too much to drink and offered to give our sister (who BTW at 25, is 23 years younger than he Ė long story) a back rub. Although my sister seemed oblivious to it since he was standing behind her, it was obvious to a few others of us that he was getting a sexual thrill from this. OK, this is disturbing enough, but I looked at his face and I recognized the expression.

Flashback about 35 years. I donít want to go into too much detail. Suffice to say it was the kind of encounter that people who don't get it say, ĎThank God, nothing happened.Ē The short de>

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#63674 - 11/30/02 08:39 PM Re: Sister's story - trigger??
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Lil Red
You write all you want, don't worry about that.

Who knows what has really gone on in the past except those directly involved ?
The signs you describe would alert so many of us I'm sure, never apologise for your genuine concern.

But what the hell you do is hard to say, most of us disclose when we're ready and no sooner. It took me 31 years to tell my wife of 25 years.
We carry our secret remarkably securely.

I can only suggest you make yourself available for him to disclose to, if indeed he needs to.

Sometimes casually talk about articles in the newspaper or on tv that you've seen about male abuse, dont overdo it, but let him know that you're aware it happens. Maybe he'll start thinking about it ? maybe he'll come to you ?

I don't know anything else to suggest, confrontation rarely works from what I know.I know I would have gone straight into defence and denied it.

Ask anyone here what the fatal words are, they'll tell you something like "this is our secret, and it will always be our secret"
And for reasons of shame, guilt and the prospect of humiliation we are prepared to lie and cheat to keep that secret.

We're the only people who can break that it seems.

Lloydy

_________________________
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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#63675 - 12/01/02 01:12 AM Re: Sister's story - trigger??
Lil Red Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/29/02
Posts: 14
Loc: Oregon
Thanks, Lloydy.
I was feeling pretty vulnerable after putting that message out there; it is good to have someone write back and be nice. \:\) And thank you for the advice. I will be moving much closer to my brother soon for a new job and intend to spend more time in his and his familyís life. Maybe then I will have a better chance to be more available and open to him.

I donít need my brother to tell all, though, unless, as you say, there is more to tell, and he needs to tell it, and Iím someone he wants to tell it to. Knowing my brother, myself, my family, I donít think it is completely out of the question that the one incident I described was enough to mess with his head forever. Does that seem ridiculous?

I wish I could tell him that I donít blame him, that we were just kids, but since there is not much I can do or say that can help him forgive himself for getting aroused by seeing his little sister naked, I donít want to drag him someplace that he really canít go, either. Christ, this stuff is difficult.

Quote:
Ask anyone here what the fatal words are, they'll tell you something like "this is our secret, and it will always be our secret"
And for reasons of shame, guilt and the prospect of humiliation we are prepared to lie and cheat to keep that secret.
Sounds familiar to me. I hung out here anonymously for a while to see if it was a good place to be. And although there are many issues specific to male survivors, there is a great deal here that I understand first hand, damn it. And, BTW, this is an amazing place to be.

Strangely, it seems my brother and I have colluded to keep something secret from each other that we both already know. Crazy, confusing stuff.

Quote:
You write all you want, don't worry about that.
Oh, dearÖ \:\)
E


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#63676 - 12/01/02 10:48 AM Re: Sister's story - trigger??
New to this Offline
Member

Registered: 09/16/02
Posts: 138
Loc: Mississippi
Hey E,

This hit home for me.
Quote:
... the one incident I described was enough to mess with his head forever. Does that seem ridiculous?
Not at all. Many of us were messed up after the first incident of abuse. There was only one time for me, and that was enough to screw me over for 28 years.

I do think you should talk to your brother, at least for your own sake. The nature of keeping secrets is self preservation. This will not come out unless one of you breaks the silence. You will not know if your brother needs/can/wants to deal with this unless you try.

Devon

_________________________
"Knowledge itself is power" Francis Bacon

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#63677 - 12/01/02 10:53 AM Re: Sister's story - trigger??
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
Lil Red:

All I can do is ditto what Lloydy says, and welcome you to this forum. This is a great support place to be in. Seems like you're doing what you can. Take care of yourself.

Wuame

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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#63678 - 12/02/02 04:50 PM Re: Sister's story - trigger??
PAS Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
Indeed - I found myself asking those same questions several months ago - and the answer I got was yes even just ONE incidence of abuse can be enough to mess with someone's head for years.

My BF had no more than TWO (one he is sure of one he is not sure of as he was drunk at the time) incidences of fondling by his SA perp (a teacher) and it threw him into 17 years of dissasociation, denial, alcoholism, hallucinogen abuse, toxic/abusive relationships and social isolation. It sometimes blows my mind how powerfully damaging abuse has been.

- Soc


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#63679 - 12/02/02 05:34 PM Re: Sister's story - trigger??
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Soc
It 'blew' our minds.....

Lloydy

_________________________
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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#63680 - 12/03/02 01:16 AM Re: Sister's story - trigger??
Lil Red Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/29/02
Posts: 14
Loc: Oregon
Thanks everyone for your input. I donít know what I am going to do yet, but just getting it said out loud (or typed out loud, I guess) now I feel I can now apply my rational self to thinking about it. Or maybe I am just over-thinking it which is in character, at least. \:D Hereís what I am working on:

What are my motives and what do I expect the outcome to be and what are the risks?

What if he says it never happened? This one I can deal with.

What if he says nothing or walks out? OK.

What if he says ĎYou idiot, youíve remembered it all wrong. Hereís what really happened: {insert nightmare scenario of choice}Ē? This would be very risky for me, but it doesn't seem too likely to happen.

What if he gets angry or cries or gets violent? Am I really prepared for all/any of the above?

What if we wind up having the following conversation:
You remember that time in X place when Cuz had me strip for you guys?
Yeah, it wasnít any big deal, was it?
No, not to me.
Nope, me neither.
Cool.
Cool.
Although this seems like bailing out, this actually wouldn't be such a bad thing. At least he would know that I do remember and he can do with that knowledge whatever he wants.

What if he says, ďI do remember, but it is our secret.Ē This one's tricky. I have no intention of outing my brother to anyone, but I was there, too. We are in a way each other's witness. This one incident can remain secret forever as far as I'm concerned, but I own the rest of what happened to me and that could still be pretty threatening to him since some of it involved the same cousin.

Will he feel like I am just kicking him when heís down? Probably, and I'm not sure there is anything I could do that could change that perception on his part. And this is the last thing I want to do.

I donít really know my answers to most of these questions. Reckon Iíve got some work to doÖ

E


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#63681 - 12/04/02 04:05 AM Re: Sister's story - trigger??
Sleepy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/08/02
Posts: 288
Loc: Arizona, USA
Lil red,
This is a tough situation and I can relate to your brother. My big sister had acted out her sexual fantasies on me when I was about 5. That was almost 20 years ago for me and my life now has somewhat been derailed by those early instances. I always knew there was something wrong with me but I could never understand what it was. I always remember what my sister did to me but I didn't know what to make of it. But if my sister would have approached me a year or two ago concerning these issues I would have a response similar to this:
Quote:
You remember that time in X place when Cuz had me strip for you guys?
Yeah, it wasn't any big deal, was it?
No, not to me.
Nope, me neither.
Cool.
Cool.
I was not ready to deal with it. Actually I couldn't deal with it. It wasn't until I sort of hit a rock bottom that I let myself deal with my own issues. I don't know what I'm trying to tell you, though. If he's not ready to change his life that little key that you want to present to him may fall on deaf ears. Take care and good luck.
mike

_________________________
"It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end."
--Ursula K. Le Guin

"Mental health is a commitment to reality at all times."
--M. Scott Peck

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#63682 - 12/05/02 12:32 AM Re: Sister's story - trigger??
Lil Red Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/29/02
Posts: 14
Loc: Oregon
Hi everyone,

I am little embarrassed at the ďDear DiaryĒ use to which I put the board, but I have to tell you it has been incredibly helpful. I was really bowled over emotionally after having seen my brother. The way he was acting just screamed out at me how much pain he is in. Did I mention that he is a great guy? Intelligent, funny, hard-working, interesting? Iíve known him all my life, and (what can I say?) I love him like a brother.

I have spent some time thinking about where my response to all that emotion was coming from and part of it was guilt from never considering for so many years that he may have had his own personal hell. Just didnít seem possible that the big brother, the tough guy, could be hurt, although the evidence was overwhelming. What a dope I was.

And part of it is my increasing unwillingness to just go along to get along, keeping secrets, not facing up to what is wrong in my own life and getting on with fixing it. Devon, I appreciate your POV; it was my first instinct, too. Secrets are self-perpetuating and destructive. On the other hand, actions have consequences. On the cost/benefit sheet, revealing that I actually do remember what happened 35+ years ago just doesnít make the cut right now. If he gives me another opportunity like he did years ago to talk about it, I will. But I have to let him own his own secrets, if that makes any sense.

I am still uneasy with the gut feelings I have that he may have done something really reprehensible. Would I forgive him? Probably, but then what? Can I rescue him? Nope. Filing under cross that bridge when we come to it, if we ever do.

What I intend to do is let him know what a terrific guy I think he is, invite his family to the BBQs and fishing trips, be supportive of his recovery efforts, and just, in general, be available. Which is the long way of saying, if Iíd just listened to Lloydy in the first place, I could have saved us all a few online minutes. \:\)

E


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#63683 - 12/05/02 09:07 AM Re: Sister's story - trigger??
guy43 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/17/02
Posts: 450
Loc: Minnesota
Lil Red and all:

This may not be the forum for me to reply to all that has been written.

Lil Red
Quote:
Strangely, it seems my brother and I have colluded to keep something secret from each other that we both already know. Crazy, confusing stuff.
Lil Red
Quote:
Christ, this stuff is difficult.
PAS
Quote:
Indeed - I found myself asking those same questions several months ago - and the answer I got was yes even just ONE incidence of abuse can be enough to mess with someone's head for years.

My BF had no more than TWO (one he is sure of one he is not sure of as he was drunk at the time) incidences of fondling by his SA perp (a teacher) and it threw him into 17 years of dissasociation, denial, alcoholism, hallucinogen abuse, toxic/abusive relationships and social isolation. It sometimes blows my mind how powerfully damaging abuse has been.
Quote:
Soc
It 'blew' our minds.....
Lloydy
E, if I could add any thing to all the powerful replies here, or add support or encourgement for you I would. Thank you for having the courage to post your truths and questions. "Crazy, confusing stuff and Christ this stuff is difficult". Yeah, it sure is!

I gotta share how these posts have impacted me.

I'm still in denial at times of the abuse I endured from cur-bio-sperm-donor and mutually(?) abusive behavior with older sis. Can I say dysfunction family dynamics? Add neglect from birth, of some kind that has no words from mom-creature-she-tried, and I wonder why I'm fucked up. At least I don't deny I have many addictions any more.

The scope of my minimization, even now, is out of this world. I suppose both the denial and minimization have enabled me to survive all this years. 18 years of one form or another before I got away from living from with family. Years of SA. And I say, 'oh it wasn't that bad'. It's hitting home now, I've heard it many times, even once can be a life altering/shattering event... Again from PAS - "It sometimes blows my mind how powerfully damaging abuse has been." And Lloydy - "It 'blew' our minds....." Yup, ok, I'm getting the point now.

Been coming here a short time and have shared a bit about myself on the forums and in chat (all wonderful people in both places). But only about the cur-thing abuse. Oh boy, I can't believe how I buried the stuff with my sister during this time.

I'm in T now, first one that even knows what he's doing and isn't dumping his shit on me. Among so many thigs he's helping me with is healthy boundaries by example. He knows about all I've said here. We're working on it... strange, the neglect is the most damaging and grief-painful of it all. Been diagnosed with depression since age 20, alcoholic last 10 or years . Clean n sober 16 months now, can't hide anymore (one down, a couple more addictions to conquer). I'm finally getting to the core issues.

PTSD, disociation, messed up relationships, social isolation in the extreme, acting out in one self-hurtful way or another. Me.

I've lost the rest of what I wanted to write. This is enuf for now. My life hasn't been all bad. I have some good memories from childhood. I may even turn out ok. Seems I'm a good man/teen/boy after all.

-jer


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#63684 - 12/08/02 04:54 AM Re: Sister's story - trigger??
Lil Red Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/29/02
Posts: 14
Loc: Oregon
Jer, you write:

Quote:
Clean n sober 16 months now.
Congratulations.

Quote:
Thank you for having the courage to post your truths and questions.
Thanks, Jer, for saying that. I donít feel courageous; I feel like I blathered on about me, me, and more me. My brotherís life and mine are all tangled up together, which is I guess part of what it means to be family. Iíve realized in the past couple of days that when I finally put all these pieces together it was like he was a mirror in front of me. Yes, the image is reversed, but I could easily recognize that person in me. And this was pretty freaky for me. So at the risk of more about me and this being the wrong place to say it, I have to tell you how these responses impacted me, too.

Jer
Quote:
The scope of my minimization, even now, is out of this world. I suppose both the denial and minimization have enabled me to survive all this years.
Mike
Quote:
I always knew there was something wrong with me but I could never understand what it was. I always remembered what my sister did to me but I didn't know what to make of it.
Iím wavering, still. I could describe to you in detail everything that happened, from that first incident with my brother when I was 7 to being raped at 14, without shedding a tear. This from the woman who bawled her eyes out watching ĎNicky, Wonder Dog of the North.Ē! I have always remembered everything - I just canít attach any emotion to it. And, supposedly, as a woman, Iím Ďallowedí. It makes it hard to connect the abuse with what happened in my life afterward.

Sometimes knowing the horrific things that other people suffered makes it easier to feel that 'Oh, it wasn't that bad', too - that Iím being weak, looking for excuses to abdicate responsibility for my own mistakes. No one in my immediate family ever abused me, my parents didnít even believe in spanking, we were only dysfunctional in the garden variety way that many non-abusive families are. Lots of people have endured far worse than I have. Of course, I know it isnít a contest, but it sometimes hard to keep that in mind.

Quote:
At least I don't deny I have many addictions any more.
Iíve been able to deny or at least minimize my addictions for years. They have been more socially acceptable or hidden Ė work, cigarettes, food, and a secret fantasy life that has insulated me from ever having to risk any honest emotional connection with a lover. I feel lucky that I havenít struggled with substance/alcohol addiction. (Unless you count nicotine.) But my refuges are perhaps easier to disappear into.

I canít tell you anything about recovery. Iíve just recently realized that I have anything to recover from and I am struggling with it. And I canít tell you anything about what it means to you as men to be survivors. All I can say is ďYeah, I know what you mean.Ē And, for whatever reason, I really need to say it.

Jer, Mike, I know what you mean.

This has been a remarkable week or so. I didn't expect that I would find here what I did find. I really don't know how to adequately express my thanks to everyone for your support and your intended or unintended counsel.

E


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#63685 - 12/08/02 06:45 PM Re: Sister's story - trigger??
Cement Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/05/02
Posts: 740
Loc: Southern California
your openness is inspiring.

our struggle is somewhat easier when shared. nevertheless, it is a struggle. I am in such a difficult place right now that I cannot feel anything outside my own experience. but i see the joy of discovery in your posts...i wish you all the best.

_________________________
And let the darkness fear our light.

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#63686 - 12/22/02 11:08 PM Re: Sister's story - trigger??
Lil Red Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/29/02
Posts: 14
Loc: Oregon
I donít know if joy is exactly the word Iíd use, but I do feel like Iíve been hit over the head with an ďOh, duh!!Ē stick, and thatís a good thing. Now I need to figure out what to do about my life and Iím working on it Ė reading up, talking with friends, looking into therapy. I didnít mean to make you feel like you had to say or do something. Lots of us got a rotten deal and I really hate it. ĎNuff said.

Thanks for your good wishes. Take care.

E


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