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#65566 - 03/18/05 07:00 PM Re: Madonna-Whore Syndrome? **TRIGGERS**
stride Offline
Member

Registered: 03/07/03
Posts: 202
Loc: B.C. Canada
SAR,

As a result of much musing over this thread about "control/power" (and your posts in particular), I broached the subject with my guy last Friday...particularly WRT our current financial arrangement. Not surprisingly, he grew very irritated with me (said I read too many books) and insisted that there was nothing wrong with my continuing to manage all the money. I tried to explain how I see this as diminishing/undermining him (and me), as well as making the (your) very astute point about this being one way in which I've been choosing control over trust. He wasn't buying it.

Quote:
My boyfriend very much resented--even fought-- some of the responsibility I let go. Any expenses or problems that I could give to him without hurting myself or our kids, I did-- that meant he was on his own paying for his loans/personal stuff, getting back his license, etc. I bit my tongue-- hard-- about his bad eating/sleeping/personal habits. In fact I looked the other way so hard in this area, that when he started making these changes I was slow to notice.
For the moment, I am still tending to our general bills, etc, but have been giving responsibility back to him for related, smaller concerns. My tongue's already bleeding, but I know this is the right path. Some things are much more difficult to get clear on, but I'm working on sorting those out for myself, if not for him.

It is also true that over the past several months he has made a number of positive changes in most areas--including sex--and of his own initiative. These changes are often very subtle, but they're there and I'm aware of them. Still, after 3+ years, I seem to have become hypervigilant (fearful) about any little thing in those areas that might suggest he's slipping back into old patterns of behaviour and/or the things that it seems will never improve. I am quick to notice what hasn't changed, which sometimes makes it hard for me to keep the faith. It is also no doubt discouraging/frustrating for him to realize that despite the changes he has made/is making, I'm still distrustful of the overall picture. And yeh, when the old stuff comes up, it can be hard for me keep the whole process/big picture in perspective. When the old stuff comes up, what changes he has made can feel pretty insignificant to me.

But those changes are not. In fact, they're huge. I know that. And the growth, etc, between us is certainly not an overnight thing, much as I might wish it were.

Thank you for reinforcing things for me, SAR et al. Thank you for strengthening my faith and hope, as well as for helping me to learn how to love him in a more respectful, appreciative and affirming way.

Stride

_________________________
In the right formation,
the lifting power of many wings can
achieve twice the distance of any bird flying alone.

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#65567 - 03/23/05 05:22 AM Re: Madonna-Whore Syndrome? **TRIGGERS**
sabbfann Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/23/05
Posts: 3
Loc: USA
I am pretty sure that I have the Madonna/Whore Complex and am seeking professional help to try and get through it(starting tomorrow actually)... Not only do I wish to have a sucessful "long term" relationship or marriage with a woman, but I really dig this girl (who I belive would be a good partner). I do NOT want to put her through what I have other girlfriends with reagrds to my eventual lack of interest in sex with them, etc... I want to know if anyone out there has been able to work through this... If yes, please post with your experiences and what worked for you. Thanks.

_________________________
"We're gonna need a bigger boat..."

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#65568 - 03/23/05 05:51 PM Re: Madonna-Whore Syndrome? **TRIGGERS**
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
Hi sabbfann,

Welcome to MS. Hope your therapy today was okay for you.

You sound like a caring person, to want to get a handle on your problems before getting involved with someone.

My boyfriend and I have been together for 8 years, and he only disclosed his SA to me about 18 months ago. Our relationship has improved in several ways but sex has certainly been the most complicated area of improvement. Some other changes had to happen before we could really work on this... and don't get me wrong, we are still working on it.

The power/inequality stuff that a few of the posters in this thread have been discussing was a big part of what had to change. The guilt and self-esteem stuff is a big part of what we're still working on.

Recently my boyfriend and I have been able to talk a bit about what sex "means" to us in the context of our relationship, and how it's meant other things in the past. These were hard, emotionally draining conversations-- partly because we have some unhappy history together as a couple, partly because of the sexual abuse, partly because it requires a sort of honesty and compassion that people don't always bring to their conversations. This has been helpful to us, but again not something either of us could have handled before.

I'd suggest that you start discussing this stuff with your partner while you're talking about long-term committment, instead of years later when it becomes a problem. Since you're working on these issues now, you'll probably be in a better position to do that than most of us on this forum were.

Good luck,
SAR


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#65569 - 03/23/05 08:11 PM Re: Madonna-Whore Syndrome? **TRIGGERS**
sabbfann Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/23/05
Posts: 3
Loc: USA
Thank SAR for your response. The therapy session went great today and it seems as if we will work well together. Yes, I am trying to be a little more pro-active on breaking this cycle before I enter into another relationship exclusively. I cannot imagine putting someone through this again... And I really appreciate how honest you and your partner have been with one another with regards to sex and SA, etc. - I will take this advice into my partnerships. I wish you all the best in your relationship and if you have anymore insights into the M/W complex and how to break this pattern, I will be most grateful!

Peace.

_________________________
"We're gonna need a bigger boat..."

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#65570 - 03/24/05 02:57 AM Re: Madonna-Whore Syndrome? **TRIGGERS**
sabbfann Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/23/05
Posts: 3
Loc: USA
Does anyone know of any specific books written on the subject of the Madonna-Whore Complex?!?

_________________________
"We're gonna need a bigger boat..."

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#65571 - 03/24/05 05:22 PM Re: Madonna-Whore Syndrome? **TRIGGERS**
stride Offline
Member

Registered: 03/07/03
Posts: 202
Loc: B.C. Canada
Hi sabbfann,

I don't know of any books dedicated solely to the topic. I've only seen this syndrome referred to (and just in brief--basically just a de>
_________________________
In the right formation,
the lifting power of many wings can
achieve twice the distance of any bird flying alone.

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#65572 - 03/28/05 05:08 PM Re: Madonna-Whore Syndrome? **TRIGGERS**
ex-insider Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/28/05
Posts: 3
Loc: Austin,TX
Hi-I am new here. I actually found this forum by accident while doing a web search on the madonna/whore complex. I became so enthralled by the thread that I ended up reading all the posts and had to register so I could join in. This is one of the most enlightening and intelligent forums I have ever been exposed to (and I have read and participated in many). Most everything I have read, has been very valuable and much of it has opened my eyes to things that I otherwise would not have recognized. I am very impressed and encouraged.
As for me, I am a survivor myself, and have had expereince in relationships with male survivors. I am recovering from one such relationship in which the man had such an inflamed madonna/whore complex that it became nearly psychopathic. Toward the end of our relationship, I found the courage to complain about the lack of affection/respect in our relationship and he replied, "I just cant see being all lovey dovey with you. All I want to do is abuse you and treat you like a slut." Although this man and I were together off and on for almost 2 years, I can count on one hand the times he kissed me, held me or said anything to me in an affectionate or supportive manner. It became more and more abusive and degrading as time wore on and yet I stayed. What on earth did this say about me? It said simply, that I hadn't dealt deeply enough with my childhood sexual abuse issues. (VERY simply-haha)--Although this breakup occurred over 2 years ago, I am still recovering from it and its effect on my self esteem and psyche. Thankfully, it served as a huge wake-up call for me and I am now approaching dating, sex and relationships within an entirely different frame of mind. However, it is a constant struggle not to fall into old patterns or to even be aware when they crop up-as I'm sure you all know. It is an ongoing, more than likely life-long process of self discovery and self awareness. However, I am finally learning how to reclaim my personal power and take more control over my destiny and relationships. I have found that taking responsibilty for everything that happens in my adulthood, has been the first step in that process. Responsibilty=power. I used to beleive I was too helpless to control my life, so I never took responsibilty for much that occured in it. It felt like life just "happened" to me, and I was not even a real participant. Just kinda along for the ride, one might say. I am aware now that this probably stems from my lack of power over controlling my abuse as a child.

Anyway, I wanted to express my appreciation to you all for inspiring me to open up on this forum and express myself. It is a most wonderful site and I thank you.

Im sorry but Im not certain if anything I have said here may be triggering so I put the icon on there, just in case. I have difficulty recognizing that sometimes...

_________________________
hummmm...

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#65573 - 03/29/05 12:32 AM Re: Madonna-Whore Syndrome? **TRIGGERS**
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Ex-insider

Quote:
I am recovering from one such relationship in which the man had such an inflamed madonna/whore complex that it became nearly psychopathic. Toward the end of our relationship, I found the courage to complain about the lack of affection/respect in our relationship and he replied, "I just cant see being all lovey dovey with you. All I want to do is abuse you and treat you like a slut."
In the first of my many replies on this topic I mentioned the cleaner at work who for a while was after my body, and as I said she's basically a tart. I know other guys she's had affairs with although she's been married for about 25 years.
For her there's no question of wanting to leave her husband, it's sex.
Now I do admit to a bit of flirting with her, but not in any way that would lead to me having sex with her. I know that I could if I so desired, but that's not on my plan at all. ( and that's not bragging, she has actually offered me sex without any strings attached )
So I tease her about the roots showing through the dye job, the bright red lip gloss, and all the other attributes that she has that mark her out. ( This is very sexist and judgemental I know, but she does typecast herself in this stereotypical way )
My 'flirting' isn't even that sexual, I just lead her on and wind her up a bit - because "I can"

Why would I do this when it's basically cruel and not in my interests at all?
Because I see her as the 'whore or slut', and therein lies a basic interest, or intrigue. The thought of sex on offer with no emotional involvement does have attractions to me because I can't manage sex with emotion at this time.

Perhaps the way we behave towards each other fulfills a role for each of us? I think it possibly might because she seems to respond in the way I expect. Or perhaps I've constructed my 'whore' image around her and the way she already behaves?

Whatever it is, she's got no chance!
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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#65574 - 03/31/05 02:14 PM Re: Madonna-Whore Syndrome? **TRIGGERS**
ex-insider Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/28/05
Posts: 3
Loc: Austin,TX
Perhaps the way we behave towards each other fulfills a role for each of us? I think it possibly might because she seems to respond in the way I expect. Or perhaps I've constructed my 'whore' image around her and the way she already behaves?
--------------------------------------------------
Dave, thanks for your comments. You are expereincing an interesting situation, if you don't mind my saying.
After my expereinces I perceive anyone and everyone who acts out sexually, as a potential and probable survivor of abuse. Now Im not saying this is always true, but in many cases I'm afraid it is--espechially when your dealing with women. What are the stats--one in four? (but thats the US, and I dont know about world stats but I'm sure they are just as shocking) Even one rape or episode of abuse, early on in a persons life can screw up thier sexual health for life, espechially if it's not dealt with. Maybe shifting your perception of her in this way, might help you to find more empathy for her and her obvious inability to "keep sex in it's place". I know from personal expereince as the "whore", that when I was seeking oversexualized relationships, it most definilty stemmed from my abuse issues. (I basically accepted ANY kind of attention be it sexual or otherwise because I felt unworthy and undeserving for my emotional needs to be met). Possibly the same thing is happening to her but shes not aware or able to confront it? Maybe her marriage is abusive and or unfullfilling? Possibly she isnt getting her needs met there, either? We hide so many things from eachother and ourselves, What is on the surface is never the whole story. She may put on a really great act, but deep inside she is suffering, you can count on that. I dont know anybody who use thier body's (or allow others to use them) indiscriminately, that don't have serious issues with self-esteem, self-worth etc.

I'm impressed by your willingness and ability to see that you are unable to have sex with emotion. Acceptance is the first step in recovery and I take my hat off to you and everyone here for being honest, despite the "risks". Just my thoughts....

_________________________
hummmm...

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#65575 - 03/31/05 07:48 PM Re: Madonna-Whore Syndrome? **TRIGGERS**
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
I would also suspect that her childhood was somewhat 'questionable' knowing some of her family. And her husband is .....well he's hard to describe, but 'dumb' would be a good start. And I've known him for nearly 35 years so I'm not being cruel.
So I would agree that her sexual behaviour is acting out as well, as is the way she dresses etc. I know that when she was a teenager she was a stunner, but now she does the whole slapper thing, and she actually doesn't need to.
It's the old self-esteem thing again.

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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