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#751 - 03/24/03 12:25 AM Dysfunctional families and confrontation...
Sleepy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/08/02
Posts: 288
Loc: Arizona, USA
As I've progressed down this road to recovery I've realized that my recovery has become a two pronged ordeal. One is the SA and the other is my family of origin. I've recently come out of denial and realized just how dysfunctional they really are.

I've been reading Sexual Anorexia by Patrick Carnes and in it he describes a healthy family. Here is what my family is not:

-A healthy family finds a balanced interdependence of males and females who are equally respected with shared power.

-A healthy family creats a balance through boundaries that define individuality yet permit physical and emotional closeness.

-A healthy family facilitates communication that enhances-but also distinguishes-nurturing, affection, and erotic contact.

-A healthy family helps members develop sexual values, meanings, and attitudes that are shared, and supports individuals if they differ.

-A healthy family defines itself as a unique sexual system that can agree or disagree with community, family of origin, and culture but remain connect to those groups.

Unfortunatly my family facitates secrecy, shame, guilt, and a general passive emotional neglect. It's a pretty miserable way of living, actually.

Now, about a month ago I posted "I need advice about discloser." It became rather apparent to me that what I need to do is to confront my family on all the dysfunctional crap that goes on here and not necessarily the SA. The SA issue really wasn't the main issue. It's the dysfunctional aspects (and along with the SA) that keeps me locked in. Frozen, if you will. Keep in mind that my perp was my sister and her actions directly grew out of "our family values."

So lately I've been having rather hellish anxiety attacks. Bad enough that it is keeping me from living my life. So I decided to see a psychiatrist. The appointment is on Wednesday.

So here is my dilemma: I have an appointment Wednesday at 10am to see the doctor. The problem is that my family will know that I'm mysterisously going somewhere and they will question me about it. I know deep down that I am ready to confront them and I'm almost certain that Wednesday will be the day. So I feel like that day is my own personal D-day. I probably could have scheduled a time so that I could covertly see the doc but Wednesday was the soonest and at a deeper level it opens the door for me to confront them. In away I'm looking forward to it so that I can break down all these old rules and hopefully for me I can institute some new rules. But it causes a lot of anxiety and I wish I was past this. Wish me luck.
Thanks,
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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#752 - 03/24/03 06:27 AM Re: Dysfunctional families and confrontation...
zadok1 Offline
Member

Registered: 11/05/02
Posts: 188
Loc: Ohio
GOODLUCK!

i have never confronted my family as such. i know they have major problems, and i just thank God i have risen above many of them. they have grown some to, almost out of accident. when i moved away from home, it is like i got my father's respect at last. he stopped trying to control me after i got married. i only wish my brother and sister could get out of that mess. he still controls them, and they keep going back for more. i guess what i have done is learned to accept how they are, and to know what i can and can't allow them to do to me. i am an adult now, i have a loving wife and family. if they try to control me, i just go back home. then, my family wasnt sexually abusing me either, so maybe it is different.

i guess what i wanted to say is that you dont always have to confront people with this, only if it will bring you peace and healing. i had to tell my wife, because i needed her support and understanding. i have told a few others bits and pieces, but i dont think they need all the gory details. i tell them what they need to know to have a healthy relationship with them, and no more. just my way i guess. good luck again.

jeff

_________________________
The world is a dangerous place, not because of those that are evil, but because of those who do nothing about them- Albert Einstein

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#753 - 03/24/03 07:33 AM Re: Dysfunctional families and confrontation...
taipan Offline
Member

Registered: 03/09/03
Posts: 57
Loc: CT
Wow are you my brother? What you have written here about healthy families is very deep and I will have to reread it many times so that I can try to incorporate this thinking into my own family. Everything my wife and learned about raising a family we learned from our own dysfunctional families (obviously). I am trying the best I can to give my children all the tools they need to break the cycle of dysfunction.
Thanks for sharing, Ed


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#754 - 03/24/03 07:57 AM Re: Dysfunctional families and confrontation...
guy43 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/17/02
Posts: 450
Loc: Minnesota
Mike,
You can always say "I'm off to take care of some personal business", and if your family asks what you're doing, well... explain that it's none of their business.

I can relate sooo much to what you've written. You give me strength as you express your own.

I need to keep in mind that ideas expressed in books often represent an ideal. An unobtainable ideal in real life families. I guess the trick is finding a realistic balance of expectations within our own families based on what we and they are capable of doing and changing.

I do wish you luck and success. You can do what you need to do, one day at a time.

jer


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#755 - 03/24/03 11:04 AM Re: Dysfunctional families and confrontation...
andrew-almost52 Offline
Member

Registered: 10/31/02
Posts: 243
Loc: canada
Hi Mike, A couple of years ago I confronted my family about the SA inflicted by my grandfather on my cousin and myself when we were very young. I'm not sure what I was hoping to accomplish now that I look back on it. I should have known better. My mother was a very hard and violent woman at times who had great difficulty expressing or showing affection. My father was one of those guys who would do anything to keep the peace and absolutely never showed any physical affection. They are in their 80s now and time has made them very mellow and given them plenty of time to have rewritten our family history. My dear old Mom even has us living in places we never lived, but that's another story.
Anyway, they were hopeless at protecting me when I was a kid, and they were equally hopeless at dealing with the issues when I talked with them two years ago. Big surprise huh? I actually felt sorry for them and came to a greater understanding as to why they were so challenged as parents. Since my conversation with them, they have carried on as if it never occurred. I call this magical thinking. Sprinkling a little fairy dust and Chanel #5 around the livingroom, going to church on Sunday, and all the nastiness in the world will disappear and life will be perfect again. Damn I hate those people. And love them. And that's what's so maddening. Good luck Mike. Peace, Andrew


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#756 - 03/24/03 03:31 PM Re: Dysfunctional families and confrontation...
Cement Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/05/02
Posts: 740
Loc: Southern California
Nike -

I am sorry that you cannot have the freedom and privacy to do this without being questioned. That is rough, bro.

Also, remember not to force the confrontation. in my humble, non-doctorly opinion, you should express the feelings that you have, but they might not be ready to hear, and their manipulation might make you feel even less understood.

Are you doing any talk therapy? the Psychiatry is good too, but talk therapy really saved me. When you need to be heard, there is nuthin' like having someone who is paid to listen.

Peace,
James

_________________________
And let the darkness fear our light.

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#757 - 03/24/03 03:33 PM Re: Dysfunctional families and confrontation...
Cement Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/05/02
Posts: 740
Loc: Southern California
sorry, man, I addressed that to 'Nike'?

that is for you sleepy...MIKE

_________________________
And let the darkness fear our light.

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#758 - 03/24/03 03:40 PM Re: Dysfunctional families and confrontation...
Sleepy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/08/02
Posts: 288
Loc: Arizona, USA
Guys,
Thank you so very much for your thoughts. I appreciate it. I must keep this one short because I'm home for lunch. But I have much more relevant stuff that I want to tell. I just need more time to formulate my thoughts.

Jer,
You are absolutly correct in that what a book defines as healthy is probably an unachievable goal. However it gives you a good reference point in which to judge your own background. For the longest time I just thought I had a normal family. I really didn't know anything better. You know what I mean?

Jeff,
You bring up an excellent point about your brother and sister. I know the feeling that for some reason you cannot excape your family. I, also, am entirely too dependant on them. If I try to leave I get sucked back in. I think confronting them is more for me and less about my relationship with them. I'm trying to break that cycle of getting sucked back in. I need to assert myself and be less dependant. I hope this makes sense. And, by the way, it's less about the SA and more about the dysfunction. I'm not sure if the SA will even come up.


Andrew,
Did confronting your parents help YOU feel better about yourself? I'm curious if what I described applied to you.

Thanks,
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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#759 - 03/24/03 03:47 PM Re: Dysfunctional families and confrontation...
andrew-almost52 Offline
Member

Registered: 10/31/02
Posts: 243
Loc: canada
No. I can't say it did Mike. Didn't make me feel worse either. All it did was reinforce how crazy my family was/is. And if I had to do it over, I probably wouldn't. But every family is different. Sorry I can't give you a more definitive answer. Peace, Andrew


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#760 - 03/24/03 03:51 PM Re: Dysfunctional families and confrontation...
Sleepy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/08/02
Posts: 288
Loc: Arizona, USA
James,
No worries about the "Nike." I got a good chuckle out of it.

I have been in therapy since October and it has been extremely helpful for me. In fact, a dominate theme for me lately is confronting my parents about the dysfunction. It seems like that's all we talk about. She thinks, and I have to agree, that confronting them will free up a lot of energy. And I think that's the case because I've been trying to live up to their dysfunctional rules. I'm horribly tired of it.

James, I've got a lot more to tell about this and I will post it later tonight. I think you will be interested. I talked to my sister about the SA.

_________________________
"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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