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#917 - 10/01/05 04:09 AM Survivor - What does it mean?
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16264
Hi guys,

There’s something that’s been bothering me lately. I sometimes feel as if my mind cannot reason through all of this “stuff”. I start out clueless and I end up the same way.

Intellectually I understand so much but it does not always translate into what I would define as a genuine understanding from the heart. Does that make sense?

For instance, I have been struggling with the concept of what it means to be a survivor. To be real honest, I’m not sure I know. Sometimes I think I’m down with it, and other times it’s almost a foreign concept to me.

What I thought I would like to see from you guys is a thread similar to the “Lies” thread from a few weeks ago in which each of us shares in a few short words (or long ones if you feel so inclined) on what “being a survivor” means to them.

I know that it will be a big help to me and more than likely many of the rest of you as well. I’ll start with one that’s been on my mind the last few days.

“Being a survivor means taking the bad things that happened to me, turning them around, and using what I’ve learned because of them to make my life and the lives of those around me better.”

Those of you that have been here longer than I may already have participated in something like this. If that’s the case, you have two choices as I see it. You can either humor me \:D and do it again, or you can point me to the proper thread . Either way, thanks guys. I’m really coming to appreciate each of you and what you bring to our group here.

Courage,

John

_________________________
“Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy ____…! What a ride!’” ~Hunter S. Thompson

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#918 - 10/01/05 04:27 AM Re: Survivor - What does it mean?
Born to Resist Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/30/05
Posts: 269
Loc: Southern California, USA
I struggle with this term as well. Right now I'd say that survivor means I am no longer being abused. This can be very early in our years. For me it's about how to live with what has happened. It means dealing with the self destructive behavior and moving past it. It feels like I have been surviving for almost 30 years. I'm hoping that I can move past surviving and begin living ... it doesn't seem like I have been living all these years.

I wish there where a term that referred to move beyond surviving. I guess the english language doesn't have an appropriate term. Perhaps we'll have to creat one.


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#919 - 10/01/05 04:37 AM Re: Survivor - What does it mean?
Michael Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/05/04
Posts: 92
Loc: Claremore, Oklahoma
Surviving means you are still here in this world. Learning is when you can face yourself in the mirror of some realm where we can look at ourselves without the fog of whatever it is we do to keep the fog there. Overcoming is when we decide that we CAN face what we do and that WE have the POWER to decide for ourselves HOW we will live.

The greatest thing I have learned through all this is that we can decide. The hardest thing is finding the place where we are strong enough to take control. No, the hardest thing is maitin control.

I feel better than I have in years, but there are still times that I become extremely depressed. But... I now have some strength to reach down inside and pull myself back out, because it is what I WANT to do.

Don't know if that makes any sense or relates at all to your question, but I felt the need to write, something I have not done lately.

_________________________
"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." - Will Rogers

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#920 - 10/01/05 08:10 AM Re: Survivor - What does it mean?
Syris Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/22/05
Posts: 14
Being a survivor to me means getting through the day. It means harnessing all the negative emotions and try to channel them into positive outcomes. There are people who have not survived abuse and it's effects. It is a very real thing to survive sexual abuse and not plummet down into the darkness never to return. So basically it means to get through today and work for a better tomorrow.

_________________________
"Years ago there was lose of control.Constant horrific nightmares,life turned into a deadly maze.The haunting sounds play on.No more bruised feelings.Can it shine through this? Will it ever shine? The pictures in the gold room."

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#921 - 10/01/05 08:31 AM Re: Survivor - What does it mean?
ak Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/10/04
Posts: 1491
It is been real hard, emotional few weeks for me. But I think, to me? Survivor means I can make it through of the 'lesser events' of my life right now. Even at times, I feel so much overwhelmed like 'I can not handle no more', that I am a survivor means yes, I can. And I will. And I also will make my life better, because unlike the abuse, it is what I deserve.

Andrei


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#922 - 10/01/05 01:21 PM Re: Survivor - What does it mean?
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
John,

This thread is a good idea, and a few months ago I would have said that I had no idea what it means to be a survivor.

Now, on the principle that anything is better than nothing, I think I have at least some clue. At first I thought no, I won't post this, but now I think I will. It may be interesting further on down the road to look back and see what I thought on 1 October 2005.

For me right now, my short answer is that being a survivor means I am on a path that will lead me to a better understanding of how sexual abuse affected me, how I can fruitfully respond to that challenge, and what I can expect to gain from my efforts.

Slightly longer answers: Being a survivor means I have to look honestly at what happened to me and accept that sexual abuse destroyed my childhood and left me with deep negative feelings about myself, the world, and my place in it. I have to learn to honor and respect these feelings, as a part of me is and will always be that terrified 11-year-old who doesn't understand what has just happened. I have to accept a lot of painful truths, since I cannot respond effectively to hurt that I won't or can't acknowledge.

In terms of my response to abuse, being a survivor means I must learn to accept some more hard realities: there are no answers to the big "why" questions, and many times my best efforts will seem to lead me nowhere except into more hurt. I have to trust myself. In order to do that I have to believe (and not just know) that what happened wasn't my fault. I have to learn to ask for help and accept it. In order to do that I have to trust people and believe I am worth helping.

I am a bit clearer these days on what I get for my trouble. I know I don't get to "forget" everything or "solve" it in a way that explains it away. I will always be a survivor. But I will learn to live a life that is fruitful, joyful and peaceful for me and those I care about, and not corroded or controlled by destructive negative feelings.

I am also learning to see that while I would not wish the ordeal on my worst enemy, perhaps it has made me a more compassionate person, or allowed me to discover that dimension of myself. I am learning to stop fighting against the idea of being a survivor, and instead to explore the challenges that I otherwise would not have had.

Let's see if I can actually post this. It lets out a lot more feeling than I am accustomed to exposing here.

Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#923 - 10/01/05 06:57 PM Re: Survivor - What does it mean?
Kirk Wayne Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/31/05
Posts: 499
Loc: Shrewsbury UK
For me Survivor means, that I have had to deal with a wagon load of crap in my early years, but at the age of nearly 50 I can safely say that I have come through it and now I am not ashamed of my abuse any longer.

Kirk


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#924 - 10/01/05 07:08 PM Re: Survivor - What does it mean?
markgreyblue Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/19/03
Posts: 5400
Loc: Pasadena, CA
a sense of of two tears in a bucket ...


my father was so bad -

i rather say my father is jesus or god -

or a very good friend who treat me better than father ever did -

m

_________________________
"...do not look outside yourself for the leader."
-wisdom of the hopi elders

"...the sign of a true leader is service..." - anonymous



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#925 - 10/01/05 07:09 PM Re: Survivor - What does it mean?
markgreyblue Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/19/03
Posts: 5400
Loc: Pasadena, CA
a sense of of two tears in a bucket ...

kirk said "I can safely say that I have come through it and now I am not ashamed of my abuse any longer."

i cannot - get there - kirk -


my father was so bad -

i rather say my father is jesus or god -
at least i look to them or virgin mary -

or the very good friend who treat me better than father ever did -

m

_________________________
"...do not look outside yourself for the leader."
-wisdom of the hopi elders

"...the sign of a true leader is service..." - anonymous



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#926 - 10/02/05 01:32 AM Re: Survivor - What does it mean?
RICK57 Offline
Member

Registered: 12/31/03
Posts: 1611
Loc: ENGLAND
My thoughts for the moment - a Survivor is someone that does what they are happy doing on a daily basis.

This doesn't mean that what you do on a daily basis is perfection, but that it is OK.

I'm not sure that I quite get that myself at the moment, but I know what I mean!?

Best wishes ...Rik

_________________________
*Never look down on anybody unless you're helping them up.
*I was seeking a way of expressing my anger - I found hope!
*There are many battles before the war is won! It can be won!

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#927 - 10/03/05 02:22 AM Re: Survivor - What does it mean?
Grunty1967b Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/28/05
Posts: 823
Loc: Australia
My first response is a suggestion that everybody re-reads ROADRUNNER's post. I think it is so spot on Larry. Thankyou. I almost don't feel I can add anything further that is worthy but here goes anyway.

Being a Survivor for me means acknowledging that bad sexual abuse happended to me as a child, it was wrong, it wasn't my fault and it's the reason why so many things are out of whack in my life and emotions. All basic abuse survivor 101 stuff I know, but it helps knowing why and knowing that it's not just me being messed up for no particular reason.


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#928 - 10/03/05 06:34 AM Re: Survivor - What does it mean?
Russ2 Offline
Member

Registered: 10/28/03
Posts: 77
Way to go Roadrunner/Larry!


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#929 - 10/03/05 07:04 AM Re: Survivor - What does it mean?
Bobby Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/01/04
Posts: 1287
Loc: Arizona
I'm here. I made it. When life tried to beat me, I survived. I was strong. I am strong. No matter how bad it gets, life won't get me, because I long ago decided....when I was a small child....that, if this is the way it was going to be, I'd be one of the ones who made it. I'm just too damn mean to give in.

Now, that said, I have a terrible time surviving me. They/He are not going to beat me, but what about that strong little guy inside me who decided to win at all costs, who put his vulnerability away, put his hard little head down and charged into life? The final fight for survival is between us. The hurt didn't go away, it was just pushed aside for awhile until there was time to take it out and look at it again. The old me didn't even know it was there until it came bursting forth seemingly out of nowhere...with a vengeance.

And now being a survivor means a whole different thing. I have survived life through pure will. Now it's not enough just to be strong. Now I have to have more. Now I have to understand instead of just accepting all of those things...the baggage...that I carried with me through life. Now I have to be healthy. Now I have to overcome "him" and what he did and how I reacted, and I have to bring feeling back to that little guy who put it away so long ago.

Before, being a survival meant getting through life at all costs and coming out the other side alive and strong. Now being a survivor means recapturing all of those feeling parts of me I had to put in safe keeping to do that. Bobby

_________________________
I'm healing now, and I wasn't sure I would.




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#930 - 10/03/05 08:46 AM Re: Survivor - What does it mean?
Andrew Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/25/03
Posts: 1192
Contributing to the community. Peace, Andrew

_________________________
there is no courage without anxiety

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#931 - 10/05/05 02:46 AM Re: Survivor - What does it mean?
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16264
Gosh Bobby, It's like you read my mind. How did you do that? What you described as your view of "Survival" is taken right out of my playbook.

Bless you for putting into words what I could not.

Courage,

John

_________________________
“Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy ____…! What a ride!’” ~Hunter S. Thompson

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#932 - 10/07/05 03:24 AM Re: Survivor - What does it mean?
WalkingSouth Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16264
Thanks a bunch guys for posting what "survivor" means to you. It has really helped me a whacking lot.

I go back and read this periodically just to make sure I remember some of the things you said so that when the dark moments come I can remember them and begin to think more positively.

Courage,

John

_________________________
“Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy ____…! What a ride!’” ~Hunter S. Thompson

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#933 - 10/07/05 05:17 AM Re: Survivor - What does it mean?
Nobbynobs Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/26/05
Posts: 1286
Loc: Toronto
It means nothing to me. It is the latest buzzword to hide what we really are: victims. I didn't survive anything. I was the victim of a monster hidden in human form and no buzzword is going to change that or help me recover. Nor will my recovery take place by identifying myself with the latest catch phrase. I was a victim. Now I am not. Simple as that.

_________________________
When you go up to the bell, ring it! Or don't go up to the bell.

- Mel Brooks

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#934 - 10/07/05 07:56 AM Re: Survivor - What does it mean?
WalkingSouth Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16264
Ok, Nobby. That's an interesting way to look at it. Sort of where I started some time back. When you say you didn't survive anything, I assume you mean that figuratively since you were alive enough to post your reply.

I really would like you to unpack what you said a little more if you would since in a way I can relate to what you say. Just not able to verbalize it. It could be of help since to me it doesn't seem quite as "simple as that"

Courage,

John

_________________________
“Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy ____…! What a ride!’” ~Hunter S. Thompson

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#935 - 10/07/05 11:54 AM Re: Survivor - What does it mean?
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Nobby,

Like John, I would like to hear a bit more about what you meant in your post. I don't say this to confront you, just to ask.

In one way I would agree: nothing (not a buzzword or anything else) can change what happened. But to say "I am a victim" means what? In an SA context I would take that to mean "I was harmed for the sake of someone else's gratification". But how then is it that you are no longer a victim?

I suppose any term can be loaded with meaning for some and just a buzzword for others. Maybe it would be helpful for you to discuss a bit more fully how you feel about this.

Take care,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#936 - 10/07/05 02:57 PM Re: Survivor - What does it mean?
The Seeker Offline
Member

Registered: 04/10/05
Posts: 141
Loc: Ohio, USA
I think the word survivor has two meanings. First, if we are still here, then we survived the abuse and were not destroyed by it either by the perps of such abuse, at our own hands, or through self-destructive behaviors. Personally, I considered suicide alot. Second, survivor also implies what Roadrunner spelled out as an active healing process. I like to think of this as a "practicing survivor", not someone living passively and just hanging on that survived as in the first example, but someone engaged in healing and the discovery of all the good things that actually do exist in this world, including themselves. But it is true, to be a survivor is to be wounded physically/mentally/spiritually, and that like any severe wound there are bound to be scars that linger throughout our lives - an unfortunately reality. I refer to mine as the invisible 800-lb gorilla in my back pocket. Thanks for the thread John, I grew a little bit reading all the responses.

Thanks again,
John

_________________________
The answers are in me.

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#937 - 10/07/05 03:39 PM Re: Survivor - What does it mean?
Mystic Rhythm Offline
Member

Registered: 08/12/05
Posts: 96
Loc: Limbo, clawing my way out...
Hmmmm... :rolleyes:

Being an innocent human at one time...

turned into something un-human...

working and clawing our way back to being human again, with more self-awareness and strength.


MR

_________________________
"Don't give up and lose the chance to return to innocence" - Enigma, Return to Innocence

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#938 - 10/08/05 05:11 AM Re: Survivor - What does it mean?
Nobbynobs Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/26/05
Posts: 1286
Loc: Toronto
I don't really know how to clarify it. I would not describe myself as a survivor. To me, a survivor lives through a horrible life-threatening experience. Nothing that was done to me has threatened my life. My abuse has just caused me an immense amount of pain, and as I recover from this pain I don't have any feelings that I would associate with being a "survivor." I feel more like I am recovering from a long illness.

I can't really sum up how I feel about myself in one word like survivor. What word can describe the feeling a child feels when he realises the world is really a river of shit and that there are people out there who are truly evil?

I have largely recovered from my abuse but I don't know if I will ever be able to reconcile the knowledge that there are people out there walking the streets RIGHT NOW, planning to do horrible things to children. Right now children are being tortured for the pleasure and gratification of others.

I have no idea how I can maintain my sanity in such a world. It sickens me to my soul. Nobody I speak to, cops, therapists, etc, has an answer for me. Nobody survives child abuse. Every time another child is abused another piece of our humanity is killed. My only hope is that one day we as a species will stand up and put a stop to it, but to be honest I don't put much stock in this hope.

_________________________
When you go up to the bell, ring it! Or don't go up to the bell.

- Mel Brooks

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#939 - 10/08/05 10:16 AM Re: Survivor - What does it mean?
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16264
Quote:

To me, a survivor lives through a horrible life-threatening experience. Nothing that was done to me has threatened my life.

OK, Now I think I see where you are coming from. I would not have felt my life threatened either except for one thing which really haunts me.

I was not suicidal, my abuser never threatened my life, but throughout my youth I made plans several times to run away. Had that happened I feel it would have surely led to my death or worse, and I believe there can be fates worse than death.

So in that sense I feel my life was in serious jeporady but I did survive it. When I think about how close I came a couple of times to turning that knob and dissapearing, it frightens me.

I hear what you are saying too, about the pain and trying to stay sane in an insane world. I feel that way too at times over the same issues. I do however, try to remember the serenity prayer when I get too discouraged about things. It helps.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

I know that sound so sanctamonious, but sometimes it's the only way I stay sane. I weep for all the unknown boys out there who I know are being abussed but the weeping does them no good. So I try to take the words of the prayer to heart. It's the only thing I know to do.

Thanks for sharing Nobby. I've learned through our exchange.

Courage,

John

_________________________
“Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy ____…! What a ride!’” ~Hunter S. Thompson

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#940 - 10/08/05 11:01 AM Re: Survivor - What does it mean?
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Nobby,

What you have given us here is your understanding of what it means to be a survivor. You have said what it means for you, and that's important.

No single term, at least not an important one, can stand on its own without requiring explanation of its meaning, and it may mean many things to different people. What, for example, is love? Or hate? Justice?

I hear you loud and clear when you speak of the awful feeling one gets with the knowledge that children continue to be abused every day. Every time I see a new young person come in here with another tale of horror I wonder when will it ever stop?

But as John points out, part of recovery has to do with accepting our limitations as individuals and living with them. I think our first priority must be to deal with our own issues first and get back to a position where we can live life fully again. But perhaps there is a paradox in that: how can I live my own life fully knowing what I know and doing nothing further about it?

I often wonder that myself, and in fact there are many things one person can do. One is what we all do here: support one another. Another is supporting organizations like this one or societies for the prevention of cruelty to children. Another would be speaking out when the subject comes up in conversation with others and some ridiculous remark is made. Or volunteer work of various kinds. But all that has to come only when one is ready for those kinds of challenges.

I don't think we will ever eliminate CSA, just as other crimes will never be eliminated. But I think an individual can make a difference, and perhaps that is part of being a true survivor as well. The vast improvement in awareness and support for victims of abuse attests to the achievements of lots of individuals, mostly survivors themselves, who one by one have decided to stand against this terrible evil.

Take care,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#941 - 10/09/05 03:35 AM Re: Survivor - What does it mean?
Nobbynobs Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/26/05
Posts: 1286
Loc: Toronto
Larry,

I think your last paragraph is what is at the core of my struggle. I am trying to prove to myself that there are actually people out there who have chosen to fight this evil. Its just really hard at the moment. I plan to take a pilgrimage in the near future, nothing religious or anything, but I just need to find that shred of hope that things are going to be ok.

Nobby

_________________________
When you go up to the bell, ring it! Or don't go up to the bell.

- Mel Brooks

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#942 - 10/09/05 04:53 AM Re: Survivor - What does it mean?
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16264
All of which briings us around to what I said in my original post on this thread

Quote:

“Being a survivor means taking the bad things that happened to me, turning them around, and using what I’ve learned because of them to make my life and the lives of those around me better.”

I determined in my heart that regardless of the emotional pain it brought me that I had to speak out. I related in post on another thread Ever told anyone how they sustained you? the story of the first time I spoke out and what happened as a result.

Our Choir goes somewhere once a month and every time we do, I tell my story. I feel compelled to. If I can prevent what happened to me from happening to just one child, or if I can help just one victim begin to heal, then the pain that I suffered will not have been in vain.

I really don't want to sound like I'm tooting my own horn here. I don't mean to be if it sounds that way. It was very difficult the first time I spoke out, and it has not gotten any eaiser. By the time I finish I am very near tears, but I believe that I have been able to make a difference, however small that difference may be.

Should everyone do what I have done? I think probably not. Not everyone is in the same place I am in their recovery. Their path may take them in a completely different direction to do other things and that's OK.

If we each do what we can in what ever way we can, together we can have a tremendous impact on the thinking of society. We can begin to tear down some of the misconceptions surrounding CSA. I have to believe that.

Thanks again guys for your participation in this thread. Your comments have helped me to learn a little bit more about myself and to be able to verbalize my scattered thoughts.

Courage,

John

_________________________
“Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy ____…! What a ride!’” ~Hunter S. Thompson

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#943 - 10/09/05 10:08 AM Re: Survivor - What does it mean?
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Nobby,

You comment:

Quote:
I am trying to prove to myself that there are actually people out there who have chosen to fight this evil.
This is part of being a survivor for you. A lot of it is about attitudes and ways of thinking, as opposed to trying to reach some specific goal. I have been doing a lot of reflecting on this, and I don't see myself reaching some "goal", in the sense of saying okay, now here I am, I can stop, I'm finished. What happened to me will always remain, it will always challenge me to live a fulfilling life in spite of it all. I think we will all find our own ways of identifying and meeting these challenges (John's quote is a useful and heartfelt example), but we are all on the same path.

The same can be said for your thoughts on pilgrimage. I hope you will share those with us when you feel able to do so. And again, a pilgrimage isn't just about a goal, it is also about a path and ways of thinking along your way.

Perhaps saying "I am a survivor" is a way of looking for the path and for others who are on it.

Take care,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#944 - 10/09/05 10:30 AM Re: Survivor - What does it mean?
Grunty1967b Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/28/05
Posts: 823
Loc: Australia
John, I wanted to add comment to your re-post on Oct 9th. You mentioned how you travel with your choir around once per month and where possible share your story in the hope of preventing others from having to ensure what you (and many others of us here) have had to.

I'm glad you shared that and also wanted to say that I too have made such a decision. I determined long ago that even if I couldn't get the answers to the why and I realised that the clock couldn't get turned back, I determined that even as painful as it might be, that I would help others and do all that I could in either prevention or helping those that had been hurt. I even prayed that out to God and He seems to answer that from time to time.

It hurts each time I do, and I rarely disclose my own past. I just help any way I can and intend on doing so till my dying day.


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#945 - 10/09/05 10:04 PM Re: Survivor - What does it mean?
Nobbynobs Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/26/05
Posts: 1286
Loc: Toronto
Larry,

I am going to Auschwitz/Birkenau. I know that it sounds melodramatic but I feel drawn there. I have no idea why. Part of me hopes that I will find an answer to my question, that I will meet someone or feel something there that will restore my hope. Or, at least I will meet someone else who is there looking for the same thing and we can look together. Or maybe I want to put what has been done to me in perspective. People did survive Auschwitz so I guess I need to find what sustained them during those dark hours.

And there's that word survive again.

Nobby

_________________________
When you go up to the bell, ring it! Or don't go up to the bell.

- Mel Brooks

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#946 - 10/09/05 10:52 PM Re: Survivor - What does it mean?
RICK57 Offline
Member

Registered: 12/31/03
Posts: 1611
Loc: ENGLAND
I suppose being a Survivor means that you can come here and:

1/ Say what you think and have others understand no matter how different our circumstances may have been.

2/ Just read what others have written without having to post a reply even if you really feel that you should.

3/ Really wanting to start and post your own feelings here, but deciding not to, because it is not really what you want to do at that time.

4/ Feeling guilty knowing that you are progressing, when others still appear to be suffering, because they still blame themselves for what happened.

5/ Know that you want to put your past where it deserves to be (in the past), but also knowing that if you forget, then there is more chance of it happening again either to yourself or someone else.

6/ Know that you/we are not alone!

I could add more!

Being a Survivor is having Self Respect? That takes a bit more working on, but I believe that it is achievable! What have any of us ever done that we should now disrespect ourselves? It was never our fault!!!

Larry - there are many things that sustain us through the darkest hours - I think that what keeps me going is that: "I believe that the majority of humans are good in nature, and that they would not willingly harm others. Why should the minority be allowed to destroy our souls?"

Best wishes ...Rik

_________________________
*Never look down on anybody unless you're helping them up.
*I was seeking a way of expressing my anger - I found hope!
*There are many battles before the war is won! It can be won!

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#947 - 10/10/05 01:57 AM Re: Survivor - What does it mean?
Don-NY Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/06/02
Posts: 546
Loc: Long Island, NY
Nobby,

You may also want to read "Of Blood and Hope", by Dr. Samuel Pisar. He was in Auschwitz, Dachau, and other camps, from age 13 to 16.

There may be answers in there for you. There were for me.

Donald

_________________________
If you understand everything, some things are just as they are. If you understand nothing, things are still just as they are.

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#948 - 10/10/05 03:03 AM Re: Survivor - What does it mean?
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Nobby, Rik, Donald,

I don't think it is melodramatic at all to see Auschwitz/Birkenau; it will definitely be a powerful and very upsetting experience though. Another one of that kind is Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem. Again, very powerful but traumatic.

Nobby, do you have a T? If so, maybe you should raise this idea before you go. I am worried that you may well be badly triggered in a place where there is no one to help you or make you feel safe.

Rik I like your defiant and positive attitude when you say:

Quote:
I believe that the majority of humans are good in nature, and that they would not willingly harm others. Why should the minority be allowed to destroy our souls?
Basically that's a trust issue. I can accept what you say as a rational adult; the problem is that 11-year-old Larry isn't buying it - trust is simply too scary. Perhaps that's another survivor trait: dealing as an adult with the feelings and fears of a brutalized child.

Take care,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#949 - 10/10/05 10:22 PM Re: Survivor - What does it mean?
lacansletter Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/04/05
Posts: 67
Loc: St.Petersburg, FL
Wow! What a great thread. I feel like there could be several new threads started just from the replies here but I will try to contain myself to the initial question.

First of all, I think that because I am alive right now, I am a survivor. Perhaps your perp did not threaten your life. Mine only threatened to excommunicate me (that means burn in hell for all eternity- for you non-catholics). Regardless, I don't view the actual abuse events as necessarily life threatening but I don't think anyone would argue the danger of suicide or death by acting out/ self destructive behaviors. I know that I have come close to dying both at my own hands and my own carelessness in the past. i don't know what the statistic is off hand but I have to guess that the suicide rate for CSA victims is higher than the "normal" population. Add to that those of us who have died in other ways due to acting out behavior, and I think Survivor is an apt name.

REgarding Bobby's and Seeker's replies, I agree that there is a continuum. On one end, there is the Survivor that is barely alive. I felt that way when the memories started to unfold. My world was torn apart and all I knew is that somehow, I had managed to still be alive (despite some of my better attempts to the contrary). On the other end of the spectrum are the Survivors described above. I think it is different for everyone. For me, it is realizing that this has impacted so much of my life. that I am not a loser or addict or crazy because of some of the things I did. All this time, I thought my acting out behavior, all of my reckless, dangerous follies were the actions of a loose cannon. someone who could simply not adapt to society like all of the "nice" boys and girls that got along just fine. Now I can point a finger to the SA and say, that is the reason. Now that I can recognize it, I can work on changing it. The most dangerous things are the ones you cannot identify. Like the old axiom of the devil convincing the world that he does not exist.

_________________________
"The only Zen you find on the mountain top is the Zen that you bring with you" Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig

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#950 - 10/10/05 10:55 PM Re: Survivor - What does it mean?
Born to Resist Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/30/05
Posts: 269
Loc: Southern California, USA
I like the idea of a continum. It might even be 2 dimensions creating two axis with 4 quadrants. Interesting research question for the academic types ... but interesting to us to help identify where we are at any given moment.


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#256338 - 10/19/08 05:02 PM Re: Survivor - What does it mean? [Re: RICK57]
Puzzled Offline


Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 18
SURVIVOR right now for me is just a word. I have been in therapy for 17 months and I am doing alot better then before which was not saying anythings to anyone for 46 years after being sexually abused by my older brother from 9 to 12 years of age. It seems the more I heal the more stuff keeps coming up related to the abuse. My mind tells me to be a survivor you must be totally free from all of it. I want so bad for the abuse let hold of its grip it has had on me and I will have no memory of it but I know that is unrealistic. I have to say things concerning the abuse have never been this good for me because I am not alone anymore.


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