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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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#761 - 03/24/03 11:28 PM Re: Dysfunctional families and confrontation...
ecb Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/04/03
Posts: 205
Mike,

I certianly cannot tell you what to do, but in my particular case, the revelatin that I was going to therapy was the segway that I used to tell my mother about my SA.

In short, she asked why I always left for class a few hours early on Wednesdays. Since I was on my way out the door, I told her if she wanted to talk about it we could that night when I got back.

She brought it up over dinner, and I told her I was going to therapy. When she asked why, it all came flooding out.

I'm not neccessarily saying that this is what you should do, but it proved a good segway for me. The other option, which jer brought up is to simply say (basically) "personal stuff, none of your business."

However, you have thought about confronting your parents and discussed it with your T, which IMHO are proper steps before actually discussing it with your parents.

I don't know how useful my post has been but I hope it helps. Good luck, I hope it works out.

Eric


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#762 - 03/24/03 11:46 PM Re: Dysfunctional families and confrontation...
Sleepy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/08/02
Posts: 288
Loc: Arizona, USA
Okay, I've got more time to write. I didn't include this in the original post because I didn't want it to become too long and convoluted. I find shorter and to the point posts to be much easier to understand.

I mentioned the anxiety attacks that I've been having. They're almost always focused on me moving on with myself. Basically, with the thought of me growing up. Everytime I start feeling good about myself an attack will come along and wack me down again. It's frustrating because it puts me into a downward spiral.

Anyway, last week I had the worst attack I've ever had. Incidently it was my niece, nephew and my sister's (she's a school teacher) spring break. The day after that attack I went with them to see a matinee. I was in bad shape, no doubt. So my sister mentioned that I didn't look too good and was wondering if anything was wrong. I think I was just too tired to keep everything in. So I told her about the attack and, interestingly, everything else. That began the process of one of the best healing experiences I've ever had.

For those of you who don't know, it was my sister that used me as her sex toy. I've never been angry at her. Maybe I should be, but I'm just not. The dynamic of a female perp just isn't the same as a male. It leaves you wanting more and everyday you think about how great that was. Unfortunatly I can't seem to get over it. James, can you attest to this?

So the next day was a beautiful day. Not a cloud in the sky and it was a pleasant 75 degrees. I went over to her house, we sat outside, and had a three hour conversation. Remarkable considering we've never talked for more than two minutes. I told her everything. I left no stone unturned. And guess what, it was good. I felt like I handled the situation fairly well because we talked a lot about our family. And I directed my comments about the SA not at her but towards the dysfunctional family. We only talked about the SA for no more than 10 minutes but anything more would have been too much for her. I didn't want to embarrass her or make her feel shameful. She admitted to using me and was very sorry. I think it validated a lot of what I've been going through.

It also validated a lot of my concerns about the family. Just having someone to concur with makes you feel like you're not so crazy. But after talking with her I feel an even stronger need to confront my mom and dad about all the passive emotional neglect and dysfunctionalism. I need to confront all the shame and guilt head on. I also think that these anxiety attacks are somehow closely related to all this. I hope they will dissipate if I can bring this out into the open.

So dispite everything about my parents, they are still good, caring people deep down. I think things will work out. Maybe?
Okay, enough for now.
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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#763 - 03/24/03 11:51 PM Re: Dysfunctional families and confrontation...
Sleepy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/08/02
Posts: 288
Loc: Arizona, USA
Eric,
I think that it will happen similar to your experience. I'll tell them as I leave the door where I'm going and if they want to talk about it we can do it later in the evening. Thanks for sharing it because it gives me good ideas.
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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#764 - 03/25/03 12:08 AM Re: Dysfunctional families and confrontation...
ecb Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/04/03
Posts: 205
Mike,

I told her that I would tell her about it after I got back, but I didn't tell her where I was going until that night. I didn't want to get her all worked up without explaining the situation.

I reccomend reading the article in the "articles" section about disclosure if you haven't already. I found it helpful.

Glad to hear that my random ramblings are helpful. \:\)

Eric


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#765 - 03/25/03 05:27 PM Re: Dysfunctional families and confrontation...
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Mike
My brother and I were talking about our parents, and the whole extended family, last night and he said.
"how the hell could we have learnt anything, they worked by fucking telepathy !"

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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#766 - 03/25/03 06:33 PM Re: Dysfunctional families and confrontation...
Ivanhoe Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/19/03
Posts: 1907
Mike,
We haven't met yet, but I just wanted to add a comment that my doc made, when I was in the middle of my therapy, that I think it is pertinent to your point about dysfunctional families. He nearly knocked me out of my chair when he made the observation that my father's overly critical attitude about my performance, whenever I attempted to do something for him, could be more damaging than any scars I have from my perps.
My father's constant stepping in to show me how to do it better, faster, cleaner, sturdier, etc., etc., etc., ad infinitum, took its toll on me. I've got tons of unfinished projects because I'm still hearing those tapes.
Good luck to you. You're a young man and you will benefit greatly from the therapy you're receiving. If you'll permit me, I think this is appropriate: "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." And, of course, the one for me: "God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones I do,(you guys, here) and the eyesight to tell the difference."
All of this will come in time for you. Life is short. Be easy on yourself. Take care,
David

_________________________
"No soul is desolate as long as there is a human being for whom it can feel trust and reverence."
George Eliot

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#767 - 03/25/03 07:00 PM Re: Dysfunctional families and confrontation...
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
David, I like that "Senility Prayer!" ;\)

Mike, you've taken some big steps so take it easy on yourself & take care of yourself. \:\)

Dave, I thot everybody was supposed to be able to read minds & communicate by telepathy. After all that's what was always expected of me growing up!


Victor

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

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#768 - 03/26/03 11:49 PM Re: Dysfunctional families and confrontation...
Sleepy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/08/02
Posts: 288
Loc: Arizona, USA
Dave,
If telepathy was only a viable form of communication my life would be perfect.

David (ivanhoe),
It's nice to meet you. Your comment is very insightful. Those same tapes run over and over in my head, too. And thanks for the serenity prayer. I like it.

Today was interesting, to say the least. I went to the doctor and he put me on Paxil for the anxiety. Hopefully it works because I can't afford to see him on a regular basis. I heeded Eric's advice and told my parents that we would talk about it when I got back. When I walk into the door they questioned me and I told them about the p-doc and that I've been seeing a therapist.

Bear in mind that I kept the SA and all the sexual issues secret from them because they can't handle that right now. But I confronted them on all the dysfunctional crap. I'm not really sure what to say about it. Unfortunately they're emotional cripples and they didn't say too much. It will take some time for them to digest it, I think. But for me to confront them on these issues was more for me than for them. There's really not much they can do for me at this point. But it felt good to get it out in the open becuase tt had been festering in my head for a long time. It's like mold, I needed to get it out in the open so that it could dry out.

But without disclosing the sexual issues it left out some big pieces of the puzzle. I think it left them feeling a little confused because it more or less left them feeling that the way I am today is entirely their fault. Bringing up the sexual abuse is just too much. At least right now it is.

Anyway, I'm feeling a little lonely right now. I'm not sure why. Thanks for your support.
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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#769 - 03/27/03 10:24 AM Re: Dysfunctional families and confrontation...
Wuamei Offline
Member

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

You may feel lonely but you're certainly not alone, bro.

As to not disclosing the sexual issues yet, take your time & take it easy on yourself. You took a huge step just telling them what you did. Take a break & a deep breath, let them digest it, then when you're ready you can take that next step.

You've also let them know you're in therapy, which is also big, that you got that out.

As you said, this disclosure & confrontation is above all for you. It's not about them, but you. Your healing & recovery. Your life.

Becuz Mike, as far as anything your parents/family
did to you as a child, sexual or otherwise, it was all their fault. None of it was yours.
They need to know this & take responsibility, whether they ever will or not. You need to know it so you can quit taking responsibility for a past you couldn't control & can't change, so you can take charge of your now, which is all any of us have got really. One day, one moment, at a time

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

Well then my friend you are well on the way. WTG!

Victor

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

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#770 - 03/27/03 04:58 PM Re: Dysfunctional families and confrontation...
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
This is a though that might apply to us older, hell no - middle aged , guys.

Mike's comment about his parents being "emotional cripples" and my brother pointing out that our parents worked brought us up using "telepathy" make me wonder about the time my parents were raised and learnt all the important things in life.

My parents are in their mid 80's and were raised on remote mountain farms in Wales. This was at a time when they farmed using horses and they left school at 14 to work on the farm.
New ideas travelled slowly and education was strictly the three R's ; reading 'riting and 'rithmatic.
Then the men went off to war and suffered untold horrors. This generation have gone from the radio to the internet, the horse to space travel.

It's no wonder they failed to understand our troubles, they're the same troubles as they experienced I've no doubt, but we have information.
We can find a specialist to give our problem a name, to help us with the benefit of research and experience. Our parents generation suffered depression, stress and everything else with nothing more than a brave face. We only have to look at the "traitors" shot during WW 2, today they have PTSD and are cared for.

This is I suppose another reason I can't tell my parents, my dad still has a sharp mind but I dont believe he could fully comprehend my problem, he just doesn't have the sort of knowledge that we have aqquired as we grew up.
And I cant be the one to dump so much confusion on them at this time of their lives.

I want to tell them, I want to be re-assured by them that they didn't know what was happening, and I want to know they love me despite everything that's happened, I want them to know why I'm distant from them. But they're all selfish 'wants', and I dont think the risk is worth it.
I have to move past my wants, deal with them in my own way, and be content with the thought that I'm 99.9% certain that they didn't know, they forgive me for being distant and that they do love me and all my faults.

But nothing in life is 100% certain except death and taxes, so I have to accept it.

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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#771 - 03/28/03 12:03 AM Re: Dysfunctional families and confrontation...
Sleepy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/08/02
Posts: 288
Loc: Arizona, USA
Dave,
You bring up an interesting point and it's something that is relevant to my recent conversation with my parents. Bear in mind that my parents are a little older than you but what you said somewhat applies to my situation as well.

Quote:
It's no wonder they failed to understand our troubles, they're the same troubles as they experienced I've no doubt, but we have information.
My mother said that her family treated her the same way and that she ended up "normal and okay." My gut response was to say "take a look at yourself!" But I didn't want to become malicious and so I never said it. I think that for her she never had any information in which to judge herself and to see that things don't have to be the way that they are. Actually I think that she really didn't let any new information near her. Maybe it was safer for her to do that. In that way she didn't have to deal with any problems. Maybe the information could have been scary. I don't know. Just a thought.

For me, information has been a wonderful gift. I don't know where I would be today with out the internet and massive bookstores and everything else. Anyway, that was a good post, Dave.
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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