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#132020 - 07/25/05 05:00 AM May not post this, but.....
Bobby Offline

Registered: 12/01/04
Posts: 1287
Loc: Arizona
Okay, I'm afraid of who I am. I admit it. I'm also afraid to be open with another man. I admit that, too. Now that all the admitting is over, what do I do next? Admitting is easy. The rest of it is impossible.

I don't know how to relate to another man. Oh, I can say hello and be friends and go bowling and to a ballgame, and all of that. That's easy.

But I'm afraid to open up. After I went "undercover" or wherever it is that I went after my dear father decided to do those things that he did to me, I never ever knew how to love or relate to a man. I don't know how to love one. I figure there is more to the relationship between men than talking over baseball statistics, but I don't know what that is. I'm afraid that, if I ever let myself feel any sort of emotion towards another man, that that will be gay love and I'm more afraid of that than anything in the world...afraid to love that way and afraid not to all at the same time.

But if indeed I am gay, I won't love every man I meet certainly. But since I have never allowed myself to feel any sort of emotion for any man whatsoever, how will I know the difference? Is there a difference? Is feeling affection for another man in reality loving him in a homosexual way? I mean, I have nothing against that, and really want to find out if I'm gay or not. But how do you know?

Damn, my father, damn him, damn him, damn him. I would love to just sit down with another man and let my emotions go and relate to him honestly and openly and feel whatever seems natural to feel and relax. More than anything I want to relax. I'm tired of being on guard. I'm tired of being afraid of loving him and not loving him at the same time. It really has closed off all men to me. Even when I write here, I'm afraid to express all of my emotions because I'm afraid someone will think I'm coming on to them or dangerous or out of control or something like that. So, a lot of times I hold back the things I want to say because I'm afraid they will be misconstrued or even worse...construed!!.....because I don't even know how to interpret how I feel.

Bottom line is that I'm either gay and messed up or straight and messed up. Either way, I'm messed up, and I just want to know how the hell to be a man who loves/likes another man. What is male friendship supposed to feel like? Damn him, damn him, damn him, damn him, damn him..........

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

#132021 - 07/25/05 05:57 AM Re: May not post this, but.....
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5781
Loc: Lyons, CO USA
You wrote:
"I won't love every man I meet certainly. But since I have never allowed myself to feel any sort of emotion for any man whatsoever, how will I know the difference?"

My question to you is do you have female friends who you like? How do you relate to them? It's no different in relationships. Liking someone and not sexualizing the relationship is how one learns how to relate to others whom you might feel sexual attraction to. We can have feelings of sexual longing towards someone we are talking to but we don't hit on every person who tickles our fancy. It's being discriminating. That's the same tack we should take with those who we find attractive.


Blissfully retired after 35 years treating sexual abuse

#132022 - 07/25/05 06:02 AM Re: May not post this, but.....
Ivanhoe Offline

Registered: 03/19/03
Posts: 1907

What are you, psychic?

Geez, I was just thinking...actually, this whole last week...of what friendship is?
I knew what it was when I was 7, when I was 10. But, sometime after that, I became confused, too.
I'm trying to get this article accepted by the head shed, "Sexual Orientation Confusion." It mentions some things that may help us with that question; but maybe not specifically.
So what is it.
I have alienated myself from most of the men I've known. I have found myself isolated and alone with my thoughts of recovery, except for individual and group therapies. And while the guys in group are friendly and accepting enough, I wouldn't classify any of them as friends.
I have a neighbor who shares the same life style as I have of a stay at home dad...we've never become close, friendly, sure, but not what I would call friends.
There are a couple of guys here who I would consider my friends, but my wife wouldn't. She tends to think of them as cyber people and discounts them, even though our couple's counselor says that friends reciprocate with one another..."give and take," she says. I tell her that's what the relationships are, they arent' one way streets, all one sided.
Some have defined friendship as with one who is communicated with, almost on a daily basis; the easy relationship of two people being able to converse about anything, which could be public or private information, with relative ease, helping one another to come to understandings with sometimes opposing points of view.
While that may sound idylic, I can think of one or two people with whom I've had such a relationship.
Maybe that's all I or two. Maybe that's all I need.
Good subject, good thread you've started.


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

#132023 - 07/25/05 09:43 PM Re: May not post this, but.....
ForeverFighting Offline

Registered: 02/09/05
Posts: 1253
Loc: New Mexico, USA
Oh, Bobby, you and I are cut from the same cloth. Again and again I am amazed. And embarrassed that I deal with these things, too.

My first reaction to any kind of possible emotional bond with another man is an erection. If he opens up emotionally or if I open up or if it seems like we might be friends, it happens. And it drives me nuts. I ask myself, Do you want to have sex with him? The answer is a calm, ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND??????? NO!!!!!!!! So it's like my ability to have a relationship and emotionally connect with another man somehow got cross-connected with this stupid piece of hardware I was born with. And gee, how could that have happened? Let's see, cold, mean family with nice friendly male pedophile. How could I NOT come out with my wires crossed?

I've decided that my hardware response has nothing to do with what I am. It's Pavlov's dog when the bell rings. I was trained that when a man showed attention to me, sex would happen. I mean honestly, "gay" is about sex-ual preference. Do we want sex? Or do we want a trusting relationship, a friendship with someone who will accept us for who we are? Why do porn and flings feel cheap? Because there's the sex but no connection. It's the connection that we want, first and foremost. We're wanting love, and we want a man to love us, so we must be gay? I'm not sure that's the case. For me, I'm just wanting a man to show me what no man ever showed me before--love and acceptance. And he can keep his body to himself. I'm finding, slowly, at this site and outside, that there are men who will love me and appreciate me for who I am without any sex involved. It's such a relief, actually.

Our perps messed with our brains, Bobby. A thought doesn't make it so. Having a close, trusting, non-sexual relationship with a man is probably the best thing for us to help uncross those wires. Once the wires are straight and we've separated attention from sex, THEN we can make decisions as to who or what we are. That's how I look at it.

I have a practice relationship going right now where each of us made a promise to the other that we would NOT bring sex into the friendship. Just taking that completely out of the equation and not letting it even be a possibility has made it safe enough to let down our emotional guards a bit. It's been excellent practice for me.

You're doing such good work, Bobby. You seem so much stronger now. The symantics will come later.

"This search for the truth--it's not for the faint of heart."--Goren on 'Law & Order: CI'
"The former things will not be called to mind, nor will they come up into the heart."--Isaiah 65:17

#132024 - 08/02/05 11:08 AM Re: May not post this, but.....
Grunty1967b Offline

Registered: 07/28/05
Posts: 861
Loc: Australia
Wow Bobby,

Yet another flash of "not another thing I'd buried that is out of whack!".

It is so true for me too, that I am not close to any male. That's deliberate, although subconsious for me. Thinking about it again my reasons are the same, will this bond be taken the wrong way, or worse will I be abused again by another male if I allow them to get close.

I can hear the warning in my own head, "you'll never get close to me to the point that you may hurt me". A good safety margin would be for you [male] to be on planet Mars thankyou very much.

I know it would be great to seek a balance at letting people in but it's too intimidating for me at present. Later perhaps?

Bobby, thanks for having the guts to open your heart and in turn for helping me "add another item to the list" of recovery.

#132025 - 08/02/05 10:49 PM Re: May not post this, but.....
ForeverFighting Offline

Registered: 02/09/05
Posts: 1253
Loc: New Mexico, USA
A good safety margin would be for you [male] to be on planet Mars thankyou very much.
Is that perfect or what? That is how I feel! I couldn't have said that any better.

"This search for the truth--it's not for the faint of heart."--Goren on 'Law & Order: CI'
"The former things will not be called to mind, nor will they come up into the heart."--Isaiah 65:17

#132026 - 08/03/05 04:15 AM Re: May not post this, but.....
sophiesdad Offline

Registered: 04/30/05
Posts: 462
Loc: Florida

I said this in a PM to you, but I believe that it warrants posting in public:

IMHO, most men lead lives of quiet desperation. There are so many hangups, taboos, and cultural prejudices that men end up terrified of showing affection for a friend (even in a non-sexual way), showing so-called "weak" emotions, or even sharing things with each other that are potentially embarrassing or shameful.

I look at the way that women interact in our culture - in a way they are so much more fortunate than we - they are very comfortable with each other and are not afraid to show true affection of friendship, or share some of the deepest, darkest secrets about themselves. I bet you that's probably why they usually outlive us .

I count myself lucky because I DO have a close friend (another survivor) with whom I can share those deepest, darkest secrets and know that I won't be judged.

I would love to start a new society where people could live together in harmony and not have all the hangups that we seem to have.


There are no unresolved issues - they just didn't resolve themselves the way we would have liked. "Grinder and Bandler - Neuro-Linguistic Programming"

#132027 - 08/04/05 11:10 PM Re: May not post this, but.....
bec Offline

Registered: 10/03/02
Posts: 187
Loc: chicagoland area

i totally agree with what SOPHIE'SDAD's reply. his comments are so true. how sad that we men are so often so isolated. may our gods help us all.


#132028 - 08/05/05 05:49 AM Re: May not post this, but.....
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus

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

I spend decades with all my defenses up where other men were concerned. In university it was "easy": it was the sixties and relating to other guys my own age could be reduced to chasing girls, drinking and getting high. Once I was in academic life it was again "easy": I could relate to others based on the common ground of teaching and research. But of course it was all entirely empty since I wasn't relating to real people with hopes and dreams, weaknesses and pains, but just to caricatures: other guys standing in classrooms or scribbling another paper or book and quoting me while I quote them. I thought I had no friends whatsoever that I could really relate to, and I was too terrified and ashamed to seek any.

I can't think of any one thing that broke me out of that. Actually there were many people: wonderful and kind people whom I am just now recognizing as true friends that I just didn't recognize back then. I didn't realize at the time that I had simply lost the ability to trust other men; I didn't trust my ability to relate to them in any personal meaningful way. No surprise there: I couldn't even relate to myself. Every encounter I saw as a kind of boxing match. I was manoeuvering and waiting for the other guy to figure out how worthless and defiled I was and then throw the knockout punch and walk out on me.

Somehow I started to get out of that. I don't know yet how or exactly when, but I was just sick of living "in the ring" and at some level I realized I just had to get out. Maybe it was like what Mikey has said in another thread:

They made a conscious decision to start to live life the way they were meant to. Did they know what they were getting into? I suspect not because I know I did not. But I tell you that I think they made it for the same reason I did. Life was pretty shitty and there was no way in hell they were going to live that way till the lights go out.
I do know that I really began to find my way back once I came here. I have done all the "what if" and "why me" stuff, and probably I am not finished with that yet. I tend to think perhaps that maelstrom is just a stage in the process of recovery: the problem is that in order to get out you need a burst of faith or energy. There is a lot that I still don't understand and a lot that still scares the hell out of me. I still absolutely fall apart when a flashback hits me, and though I endlessly preach to other guys that it wasn't their fault I don't think I believe that yet concerning myself.

The big moment, as I now see it, came entirely by chance. I PMed someone here, and a guy I didn't know at all (though I had seen his posts) replied and told me he got the PM by mistake. He was very pleasant and we quickly discovered that we were both teachers, though dealing with kids of vastly different ages. The PMs went back and forth, and somehow the content started to become very very personal. I guess we were "negotiating" with each other: If I trust you am I going to get clobbered? What are you going to think once you really know how messed up I am? Personally, I think I decided that at last I was going to forget all the bullshit and just be me, whatever and whoever that turned out to be on the day. And surprise surprise. He did exactly the same, and after two months of baring our fears, inadequacies, and secrets we are both still standing and still talking. There is of course still a lot we haven't discussed, but it sure isn't any worse than what we know about each other already. And yes, it's "just cyberspace", but I think that point can be overstated. We have risked a lot to get where we are, and we both know that.

One thing that I noticed was that no matter what I told him, he would PM or email back with friendly and supportive comments with absolutely no judgment to them at all. Then I got to thinking: why was I stunned? Not because I am worthless and he just doesn't see it yet, but because I am in fact a person worth knowing and caring about, and loving just as a friend. Who woulda thunk it? \:\)

Lots of love,

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)

#132029 - 08/22/05 10:57 PM Re: May not post this, but.....
Dewey2k Offline

Registered: 08/22/05
Posts: 3069
Originally posted by sophiesdad:
IMHO, most men lead lives of quiet desperation. There are so many hangups, taboos, and cultural prejudices that men end up terrified of showing affection for a friend (even in a non-sexual way), showing so-called "weak" emotions, or even sharing things with each other that are potentially embarrassing or shameful.
Oh my lord how true this is. I struggled for so long with this my entire life, and I still struggle with this.

There are two books I recommend to anyone who will listen:

"Real Boys" by Dr. William Pollack. (Henry Holt and Company, 1998)
"Raising Cain" by Dan Kindlon and Michael Thompson (Random House, 1999)

Both are in paperback, and run in the $15-$20 range. Trust me: buy them, read them. They explain in different ways about gender roles and how boys are taught to stifle their emotions. They will explain why we men are the way we are. I can't recommend either of them highly enough, and I recommend they be read as a set.

They changed the way I look at myself.

I'll post more about myself later on for some context.


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