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#65576 - 04/10/05 06:17 PM Re: Madonna-Whore Syndrome? **TRIGGERS**
beautifuldisaster Offline
Member

Registered: 01/03/05
Posts: 85
Loc: usa
Hi all,
My computer blew up and we had to purchase and install a new one. It has been awhile since I have been on and see that this thread has grown quite a bit since.
I see it has gone off in a few different directions....but I do have one question for the survivors in regards to their wives/special other.
My dilemma is being the Madonna side. So, out of frustration and hope and everything that I have ever tried....and believe me in almost 3 years I have tried every angle I can think of....what do you conceive has been the most beneficial position for a partner to be in.
I find if I dont say anything and live as we are then we basically live a very platonic life. If I push the issue I may get short term satisfaction, or we might end up in a fight.
I am to the point I feel like a foreigner in my own relationship....which at one time was very satisfying.
I am so confused I feel I am living in an emotional mine (mind) field.

*side note, he has finally agreed that seeing a therapist may be a good idea ...I just pray I have the strength.

_________________________
I AM THE MASTER OF MY DREAMS,
I AM THE CAPTAIN OF MY SOUL-

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#65577 - 04/10/05 10:14 PM Re: Madonna-Whore Syndrome? **TRIGGERS**
Caetel Offline
Member

Registered: 11/05/03
Posts: 322
Loc: Paris, France
I have come to realize that the madonna-whore syndrome can be view as a whole cycle giving it enough time.
One of my friends (in her 50's) has uncovered a history of incest in her husband's family. She even suspects he was abused by his mother at a very young age. After nearly 30 years of mariage, where apparently she was a "saint", helping him in his work, supporting him...he suddenly started to treat her like shit, even calling her a bitch. She is only conscious now that being considered a saint is as dysfunctional as being considered a whore. Obviously the fact that the relationship changed (because the partner is making the changes) can trigger that syndrome to become more obvious.
The syndrome seems to be a normal phase (around 16-20 in male adolescent psychosexual development in order to make the break from "mommy" (from my reading "Sexoanalysis" by Claude Crépeault) but I guess I am wondering about what's the crucial element that make guys leap from that kind of easy sex relationship to a more mature one based on feelings and trust.
And please don't tell me the answer is love !
As for the statistics on female sexual abuse it is actually 1/3 before the age of 18 (same numbers in England, Ireland, Canada, US). The number goes up to a frightening 80% in Indian reserves Canada.

_________________________
Mitakuye oyasin ! We are all related !

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#65578 - 04/11/05 12:15 AM Re: Madonna-Whore Syndrome? **TRIGGERS**
beautifuldisaster Offline
Member

Registered: 01/03/05
Posts: 85
Loc: usa
Wow, a cycle. I dont want to be on either side....just a happy medium would be nice for a change.
I wonder if there are statistics involving therapy on this particular "syndrome".
It seems to hold such STRONG ideas within itself...I just wonder the outcome that generally comes with therapy.

*sigh

_________________________
I AM THE MASTER OF MY DREAMS,
I AM THE CAPTAIN OF MY SOUL-

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#65579 - 04/11/05 12:53 AM Re: Madonna-Whore Syndrome? **TRIGGERS**
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
Quote:
I am wondering about what's the crucial element that make guys leap from that kind of easy sex relationship to a more mature one based on feelings and trust.
And please don't tell me the answer is love !
I think it's exposure to, and practice with, feelings and trust.
You can't build a relationship on something you can't access.

Also I don't think I ever realized how big the gap was between sex and emotion for my boyfriend until he got in touch with his emotions a bit. HE didn't realize that I was connecting sex and emotion-- or that our sex life had an emotional impact on me-- because it didn't even occur to him that those things COULD be connected. I guess he thought all of my impatience and hurt over the "platonic life" had to do with lack of sex... when what I was feeling was lack of love... I told him over and over but until he really became comfortable with himself emotionally, it didn't register. In that context I can understand why he would become so upset at my impatience and hurt. What a terrible cycle. \:\(


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#65580 - 04/11/05 03:09 PM Re: Madonna-Whore Syndrome? **TRIGGERS**
beautifuldisaster Offline
Member

Registered: 01/03/05
Posts: 85
Loc: usa
The other night, I was trying so hard to feel "connected" to my husband. It seemed every slight advancement was met with a wall. I finally explained to him that I was just trying to "connect" to him. He asked me so seriously "what do you mean by connect to me?".
I have worked so hard trying to live as an example. Be emotionally available to him. Taking the lead to show him. Honestly we are at a make or break point right now. My frustration along with his frustration are not making life good right now.
I pray to God that therapy is the answer. It is heartbreaking to experience.

_________________________
I AM THE MASTER OF MY DREAMS,
I AM THE CAPTAIN OF MY SOUL-

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#65581 - 04/12/05 08:53 PM Re: Madonna-Whore Syndrome? **TRIGGERS**
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
"Heartbreaking" is the right word for living with a sexless relationship when both people love each other.

Quote:
Obviously the fact that the relationship changed (because the partner is making the changes) can trigger that syndrome to become more obvious.
Since I disclosed and started healing I have changed a gret deal, and my wife has also changed, maybe not as much.
Effectively we are different people than we were 6 or 7 years ago.
In many ways we are closer, we trust each other, we share our thoughts and feelings, in a way we never did throughout our long marriage.
Surely that must make for a better basis of our sexual relationship? In theory I suppose it must, but in reality it doesn't seem to have worked that way.

I think that for the first 25 years or so I treated sex as barely more than a physical thing. I enjoyed it so I did it.
Now there's an added dimension, and it's one so removed from all my sexual experiences from 11 to 46 years old that I barely understand it.

It's stupid in a way, because I have acknowledged my emotions, I have exchanged so many levels of emotion with my wife, but this sexual emotion is somehow different, and I can't grasp it.

Quote:
HE didn't realize that I was connecting sex and emotion-- or that our sex life had an emotional impact on me-- because it didn't even occur to him that those things COULD be connected.
Which is EXACTLY what SAR says here.
The wrong signals associated with our first sexual behaviours meant we had no emotion, well certainly no genuinly positive emotion, attached to that sexual experience. What we lerned was little more than the pleasure of physical orgasm, and a load of guilt and shame attached to that pleasure.
Pavlov's dog's were trained in the same way.

Unless I've missed something then I know what level of pleasure can be had from most sex acts, and I also know that a significant amount of that pleasure can be had from masturbation, so what's easier?
Yes, I realise that sex between people in love can trancend physical pleasure alone, far above the do it yourself methods.
But this level needs emotional connection, exchanging pleasures with someone else is as much about giving pleasure as it is about receiving it, and we can't do that when emotionally stunted as a direct legacy of our abuse.

Connecting with other emotions is possible for me, I can hold hands, hug, and lie in bed with my wife naked. We talk about anything, including this difficult subject.
So where's the damn switch to connect the last bag of emotions to my sex drive?

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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#65582 - 04/13/05 12:18 AM Re: Madonna-Whore Syndrome? **TRIGGERS**
Caetel Offline
Member

Registered: 11/05/03
Posts: 322
Loc: Paris, France
Hey Dave ! Just wanted to give you a quote about your last desperate question: "the unconscious has its own agenda"
the author of this quote ?
me \:D
I have learnt to accept it in my own sexual healing but it is damn slow !
oki, off to Ireland now !
\:\)

_________________________
Mitakuye oyasin ! We are all related !

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#65583 - 04/13/05 04:02 PM Re: Madonna-Whore Syndrome? **TRIGGERS**
beautifuldisaster Offline
Member

Registered: 01/03/05
Posts: 85
Loc: usa
Dave,
It makes me sad for you and the others to have to desire what is suppose to be so natural.
I have learned so much from you, thank you for being so open and honest for us...especially on this thread. I think the spouses/significant others have our own pain and confusion and feel like we are doomed to never be able to connect the dots. You have helped us be able to feel a little bit of control here, and gain some understanding. We really do suffer as a result of this, but putting that on you guys makes it extremely uncomfortable. When we try to understand the one we love, it can be a very painful conversation so we either avoid it or it turns into a fight. Either way, we are being trained to learn to live with this also. I call it training because it really is so out of the ordninary when you dont understand it emotionally.
As to your comment...about the SWITCH, how do therapist/counselors work that angle? I know there are several on this board checking in and out...and I think that would be a wonderful theory/method for them to expound on. Personally when I have spoke to my husband about it- I try to get him to realize that the experience he HAD when he was a small child was not related to what adults have consentually. And that putting them into two different categories in his mind would be a start. One was an act of violence and control and the other love.
It is so frustrating, and very much a turn off to think I would trigger anything in him while making love that would remind him at all of the other situation.
My emotional mind, my sexual mind.....they have changed because of this. Things that used to be so natural and easy have suddenly become a task of great proportions.
*sigh*.....my ordinary every day mind is over whelmed.

God Bless

_________________________
I AM THE MASTER OF MY DREAMS,
I AM THE CAPTAIN OF MY SOUL-

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#65584 - 04/13/05 08:50 PM Re: Madonna-Whore Syndrome? **TRIGGERS**
stride Offline
Member

Registered: 03/07/03
Posts: 202
Loc: B.C. Canada
bfd, Dave, SAR and all,

I remember posting here a coupl'a years ago about my utter heartache and frustration WRT trying to get through the minefield of triggers, etc in our love life, to share an emotional connection with my guy ("Brant") in bed and generally tear down all of these damned barricades to real sexual intimacy/and that exquisite experience of REAL union. Hell, even just the experience of feeling on a relatively frequent basis that his desire is FOR ME/US, that his sexual pleasure is about ME/US, instead of just some purely physical release (especially given that sex can leave him with feelings of guilt, shame, "dirtiness" or whatever...feelings which I can't help but pick up on sometimes). Someone replied that it sounded to her as if a robust, healthy and vibrant sex life with my partner was really important to me (it is) and that, if so, I was doomed to never have that with my current partner due to his SA history.

Well, maybe she was right but I'm not much of a fatalist. (Caetel's signature [Kennedy quote] about asking "Why not? [etc]" comes to mind here.) And like Dave, Brant is often very affectionate, enjoys holding hands, cuddling, etc--it's certainly not as if there's no physical affection or emotional closeness between us. That there's a whole lot of love between us is indisputable. That's part of what keeps me hanging in there. It's also true that the sex has improved in some ways, however subtly, which also gives me hope, if no other reason than I can see he is trying to work on the intimacy stuff with me.

Even if he doesn't really understand what I'm talking about in this area--it's clearly foreign to him--and thus may not even see how there's anything more to work towards beyond trying to satisfy this mysterious upset I have about it, I can see that the effort is there. The feeling of discontent/personal discomfort remains for us both, it's generally palpable during or immediately after we have sex, but at least we can talk about it a little more now without that always having to mean big conflict. Still, it's important to note that it's taken us well over 3 years just to get this far. It's not an easy or quick process, that's for damned sure!

Quote:
...about the SWITCH, how do therapist/counselors work that angle? I know there are several on this board checking in and out...and I think that would be a wonderful theory/method for them to expound on. Personally when I have spoke to my husband about it- I try to get him to realize that the experience he HAD when he was a small child was not related to what adults have consentually. And that putting them into two different categories in his mind would be a start. One was an act of violence and control and the other love.
One (of many) areas that have been difficult for us sexually has been his lack of comfort/willingness to communicate with me in bed. Because his abuser was always talking/describing/verbalizing what was going on for him (his abuser) when he was abusing Brant, having either of us say anything about what we're feeling,thinking, fantasizing about, or what we'd like at the time, etc, is a HUGE trigger for him. Basically, that door is CLOSED!

This has been very frustrating for me (especially given that I can be very verbal and am quite unaccustomed to not being able to give/receive that kind of communication in bed with a lover), so I finally asked a sex therapist acquaintance of mine about it (with Brant's permission) about 3 years ago. She suggested that we try just having me, say, give him non-sexual back massages and have him work towards being able to tell me what feels good, what doesn't, what he'd like more/less of, where he'd like me to massage (upper back, lower, base of neck, whatever), whether he wants kneading, light scratching, gentle rubbing in a given area at a given time, etc. The idea was to work on communicating feelings, desires, etc (and even just becoming more aware of what was going in his body) in a non-sexual (non-threatening) realm and just start with that until he became comfortable with it.

Well, when I told Brant of her suggestion, he said "I'm not going to do that!" Besides, he said, he's not that into back massages (or so he said at the time). She also suggested the book "The New Male Sexuality" for him/us to read. I bought it, read it cover to cover many times, but he's never looked at it to my knowledge.

Still, we may get there yet. I told him about this site when I first discovered it in February of '03, and he didn't want to even *hear* about it, much less check it out. In fact, I recall him being quite upset and angry with me for looking into such things as male SA stuff at all: "Quit trying to analyse me!" he said. The way he said it, I felt like he hated me at the time. Then, out-of-the-blue 3 nights ago he suddenly asked me to show him the site and how to post here. He posted 2 things, logged off, and didn't look at it again until this morning, when he read the guys' replies to his posts. His only comment about their replies was that "everybody really seems to care," but he said this with a very grateful, clearly comforted tone. He still hasn't read anything else here, but volunteered to me today that he's going to be writing the guys again and spending more time here in the future. And I think he will. Again though, it's taken 2 years just to come this far.

Quote:
My emotional mind, my sexual mind.....they have changed because of this. Things that used to be so natural and easy have suddenly become a task of great proportions.
Oh yeh, Sister! I know this one! Believe me I do. The road is a long and rocky one with an unknowable conclusion, but for so long as we're on it, it's truly an incredible gift to have all of us here trying to find our way/s together.

Gotta run. Love you all. I do.

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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#65585 - 04/13/05 11:03 PM Re: Madonna-Whore Syndrome? **TRIGGERS**
stride Offline
Member

Registered: 03/07/03
Posts: 202
Loc: B.C. Canada
Quick post>
_________________________
In the right formation,
the lifting power of many wings can
achieve twice the distance of any bird flying alone.

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