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Gentlemen,

I want to make a statement that, in my opinion, speaks to all of us who come to MS for support.

Suffering is suffering. It does not matter how it occurred or when it occurred.

From my observations CSA/ASA survivors have much in common: feeling humiliated, vulnerable, angry, in pain, to name a few. We also have things not in common. Even with those differences I feel it is important to support one another in our journeys and struggles to cope with and heal from horrible experiences. Sometimes I've noticed CSA survivors not being very nice to ASA survivors in chat. That upsets me. You deserve our support. Support may not constitute "swapping notes". Not one person's experiences here will speak to everyone. It constitutes compassion and caring.

As a CSA survivor I may not have a lot to offer you directly. However, I want you to know I want you to heal as much as I want everyone here to heal. Your survival is as valid and important as my own. I encourage you in your quest for tools and information that will address your suffering in the best way possible. If, in my travels, I find something I think will help you, I will pass it along. I won't be a crasher on your territory. It is your space to share specific ASA challenges that a CSA survivor could not possibly understand. Just the same, I want you to know my heart goes out to you. I do not like anyone to suffer.

Thebo

Thebo makes an excellent point (I hope it is OK if I lifted this from another thread that pertained to a different subject - I think this stands on it's own merits and deserves special focus). It essentially derives from concerns that the ASA forum seems all but abandoned.

When my best friend came to me severely depressed (non-CSA issues) - looking to me for help - I didn't know what to say or do. I was not a therapist and had no answers. But when I thought of it, I actually DID have an answer. I could help him by simply being his friend. By simply standing with him - even if I said nothing. It's true here as well - as we work through these issues, we need the whole team - professionals, friends and family - no one can take the role of the other. Each one is irreplaceable. Ultimately, this is a brotherhood of support. Therapy on the boards is not really a viable option, but MS provides something unique, necessary, and irreplaceable. To many of us, this place is an essential ingredient of our support system. If you share, you are part of that indispensable scaffold.

In that vein, I wholly support Thebo's point. We are here to support each other. Shared experience amplifies that support greatly; the synergy of finding that special "someone" on the board here - and most of us have found one, maybe even two or more - is a truly heightening experience. We have finally made the friends we wish we had back then...

Conversely, those who are left on the sidelines feel shut out at a time when they really need support and friendship. As wonderful as it is to connect, it is sad and difficult not to - and that amplifies all the wrong feelings - the very ones they have come here to try and resolve.

Thebo mentions the rift between CSA and ASA survivors. And I have spoken before of a rift between survivors and family/friends. There remain disconnects at MaleSurvivor, and it's up to us to bridge them.

I consider myself blessed with the wonderful support and comments I have received. The support just pours over me like syrup and it's absolutely sweet and amazing. What is remarkable is that this support comes to me by sharing the same deep dark secrets I would literally have rather died than reveal. I didn't even dare tell my own diary of my embarrassment and shame. Who would have ever thought that sharing them openly in a safe environment would be ultimately so relieving and self-affirming? We should want that for EVERYONE.

I have mentioned before that a buddy-type system may help facilitate those bridges. Perhaps those in need of a friend - or even those who are just new to the site, register in an "adoption clinic" where one of us can pick them up and mentor them for say a three month period (or whatever is appropriate). This way the newer members will have a guaranteed connection where they know someone is watching out for them - someone to perhaps read their story before they post it, or affirm to someone's wife that the road her husband is on is shared by all survivors, or just someone to listen.

Because it is in building bridges to others that we construct bridges within ourselves and reconnect to our own hearts.

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