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#219485 - 04/21/08 03:55 PM What's our duty, and to who?
Leosha Offline

Registered: 06/18/03
Posts: 3614
Loc: Right here
I've been away from this site quite a while now. I do check in to read sometime, but really, not sure what or how much I have to offer here, and whether I can give it if I do have any such thing.

I don't know. I see some "old timers" here, who stay here, who become moderators, who help welcome new folk and help them work on their pain and such. I see some folk who go even further, and speak openly on abuse, who work to educate the goverment and other people to male sexual abuse. Who involve themselves publically in the cause, who voluntarily do interviews and are involved in projects to educate the public.

I'm just wondering, in general, what do people think our duty is? Once we heal, or become healed enough to be one of those more "normal" people who I'm sure I'll never be, to who do we owe more then? And what to do? Is there some kind of calling or feeling people get, of what they want or can do to help others? I don't know, I've been doing this a long time, this healing stuff. Some days, I feel almost normal, whatever that may be. But still, the idea of being so public about this, to talk on it and share so much with people, is enough to make me panic. Is this something that will someday happen, or maybe never for some of us? I'm kind of an ambiguous person, in some ways I am not at all a private person, and in some ways, I am incredibly private. I can't image going public about this stuff like I know Curtis, and I think Tom have. Kudos to them, but I would rather just stab myself repeatedly in the eyes then to do that.

But what is it that is our duty, or is it only to ourselves? I have been here a lot in the past, not so much in recent time, and can't ever know if any of my words help another human being. I just feel kind of in limbo, not knowing if I could say or do anything here that is not already being said or done by some very fine people.

Hmm, this is just really not coming out well, I'm not really putting my thoughts into words well. Maybe someone here will get a whiff of what this is I'm trying to say!

I think I just feel selfish, and have been enjoying that feeling far to much.


Avatar photo in memory of my younger brother Makar.

"Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted."~~~Martin Luther King Jr., 1963

#219494 - 04/21/08 04:37 PM Re: What's our duty, and to who? [Re: Leosha]
Freedom49 Offline

Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 2724
Loc: Washington State
Leosha, there is nothing wrong in taking care of yourself. I know I am feeling stronger now and I have spoken out but it was out of a desire to help, not out of an obligation. You should not feel obligated to do anything more than heal and recover your life.
Normal???, I will never be normal, I was never normal to begin with. I will be healthy. I will be loving and compassinate. I will be a better husband and father and better friend. I will never be whatever normal is or was.

I am encouraged that this question concerns you enough to post it. Perhaps you are thinking of someone who is hurting and you are wondering what to do. Who knows? Be assured though that your first obligation is to you and your health. What ever you decide from that point on is up to you. You are a good person. You will do whatever is right.

#219498 - 04/21/08 04:49 PM Re: What's our duty, and to who? [Re: Leosha]
Stephen_5 Offline
BoD Emeritus
Registered: 09/12/00
Posts: 667
Loc: Northern California Foothills

I think our primary duty is to ourself and our healing. That's not selfish, that's taking care of ourself, allowing ourselves to grow and heal. By responding to a post with my feelings on a subject, I hope that I can give some other person an alternative idea to help them in their own healing. My posting has ebbed and flowed over the time that I've been here. Sometimes I post quite a bit, sometimes not. I contribute only when I have a view that has not been previously stated or not stated as comprehensively as I would state it: sometimes I just want to chime in and say that I agree with what someone else has stated. Many times when I start to respond I write out a long detailed response only to delete it as being redundant. But by writing it out it may help me to see just how far I have come in the time that I've been here.

Am I 'normal' now? I don't really know, but I've come to feel much more at home with myself and my feelings. Will I ever be healed? Again, I don't really know, but the impact of the CSA has less and less of an effect on my life.

I just hope that by my being here I can help alleviate someone else's trauma when they're here dealing with the after affects of CSA.

Take good care of yourself,


I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center.
Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007)

#219499 - 04/21/08 05:05 PM Re: What's our duty, and to who? [Re: Freedom49]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus

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

Your duty is to yourself, bro. MaleSurvivor is a site where we should all be thinking of ourselves first. Sharing and supporting others is of course a part of that. When you share your feelings with another guy in your post, you are breaking the silence and rejecting the shame and blame. But it's always best to remember that we can help out best when we ourselves are stronger. As I keep saying, two ships sailing together cannot help each other if both are burning. Each captain has to look after his own ship first, and then turn to help others.

But do we owe anyone as we recover? Should we feel we owe anyone? Or rather, do we have a debt or duty that needs to be fulfilled?

Again, I think our duty is to ourselves, to live a happy and fulfilling life as we were meant to all along. That in turn will bring joy and fullfillment into the lives of others.

Looking at my own case, yes, I do feel that I owe MaleSurvivor a lot, and that has had an effect on what I do here. But I also do it because somehow it "works" for me. It's something I can do, and our community has come to be very important to me. I don't expect anything in return; I'm just very pleased when I see a guy turn the corner and make decisive new progress. If I have had something to do with that, fine - that's enough.

But that's just me. Other guys may feel they cannot do what I do, or don't want to do what I do. That's fine with me. They have to decide for themselves.

After all, abuse is a decisive intrusion into our lives. Some of us may wish to fight this intrusion, defeat it, and return to the lives we feel we otherwise would have had. Others, like myself, may also wish to fight and defeat the intrusion, but will consider that the battle has shaped them into a different person and that this new trajectory needs to be followed - at least to see where it's going.

Either way the decision is ours, and so long it's one that brings us peace and fulfillment then the choice will have been the wise one.

Much 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)

#219526 - 04/21/08 08:15 PM Re: What's our duty, and to who? [Re: roadrunner]
Power_water Offline

Registered: 09/14/07
Posts: 45
Loc: Portland, OR, USA

Do we have any obligations to others? I can think of one, make sure that we don't in any way perpetuate the cycle of abuse or neglect, or in other words that by freeing ourselves of these chains we will indirectly cause our future posterity to be freed from these chains. By choosing to live a better life for ourselves by choosing to reach what positive potential that we can, we then better the lives of other people around us.
That much at least, is an obligation, a damn hard one too.
I'm sure we can all agree that we should never turn into our abusers. Our obligation is to fight their effect in our own lives and in defiance of them move in the opposite direction.

"brings us peace and fulfillment" Wow! Roadrunner, is that stuff real? I don't mean to unfairly doubt you, but I have been working on this for over a decade and a half. I can see that I have come very very far, but that uneasiness, that anxiety that feeling of shame and fear, division in myself that most of the PTs call PTSD, it has continued with me in full force. It seems that I've learned some tools to better cope, I have learned to recognize most of my own symptoms. And what do I get for my trouble?? I have regained a whole SHXT-load of repressed memories and emotions, that most sane people would rather not know about themselves.

When does the payoff finally come for me??

Bring works of darkness to light

#219546 - 04/21/08 10:00 PM Re: What's our duty, and to who? [Re: Power_water]
Denniss Offline
New Here

Registered: 03/17/08
Posts: 25
Loc: California

I read your post earlier and have been thinking about the appropriate response as this issue strikes to my very core.

Power Water stated it precisely..... it's ours to own as individuals and to end the cycle of abuse. "Hurt people, hurt people". Our obligation is to stop it now, heal ourselves as individuals, and to personally decide the next course of action. It could be to help others, donate time, chat with others, etc.... or simply move on outside of the brotherhood knowing that there's always safe refuge when needed. It's a personal decision.

One thing is for sure, by simply asking/posting it you've helped those here explore the issue which in itself helps heal.

Thank you!

Edited by Denniss (04/21/08 10:07 PM)

#219589 - 04/22/08 02:50 AM Re: What's our duty, and to who? [Re: Denniss]
WalkingSouth Offline

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16270
Loc: Waldport, Oregon

Like others have said, our first responsibility is to ourselves. Anything beyond that is being giving, sure, but there's no rule that we MUST give of this very personal part of ourselves. I'm convinced that not everyone is supposed to speak to groups, etc. like some do. Not everyone is supposed to write or give money or be an activist, but everyone is supposed to be the best person they can be, not for everyone around us, but for ourselves first. If we can do that those other things will happen whatever they are and when it is supposed to.

Lost of love,


"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 Shit! What a ride!'" ~Hunter S. Thompson

#219613 - 04/22/08 07:48 AM Re: What's our duty, and to who? [Re: WalkingSouth]
alexey Offline
Moderator Emeritus
Registered: 08/16/05
Posts: 1677
Loc: Moscow, Russia

Do what makes sense to you. Your genuine moves will be enough duty for you and other people.



When you feel all alone and unhappy, turn to you Inner Child and talk to Him.
You will see He can comfort you like nothing else!

#219686 - 04/22/08 05:27 PM Re: What's our duty, and to who? [Re: alexey]
Muldoon Offline

Registered: 05/30/02
Posts: 1428
Loc: St Paul MN

Been thinking about this post for a few days now.

Taken care of ones self has to be #1 for us all.

I have more to share but will think about how to say it. Back in a few days.


Teach the Children to Never Hide in the Silence

#219856 - 04/23/08 06:05 AM Re: What's our duty, and to who? [Re: Muldoon]
VN Offline

Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 723
I think what all else here say, it is true. First importence is taking care of ourself, and treating people right. We can be example to other people just in how we behave ourselves.

And please know that you have done very good in 'giving back' already. And it is very much appreciated.


#219865 - 04/23/08 07:54 AM Re: What's our duty, and to who? [Re: VN]
dark empathy Offline

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 2712
Loc: durham, north england
leosha, I've been thinking about your post and this one for a few days.

Studdying ethics, I've had to considder the idea of duty, and I'll admit it's one I dislike.

If you don't mind me going ethics here, it always strikes me that the idea of duty is based around compulsion.

whatever the duty is to, duty to obey the lore, duty to a cause, even duty to another person, it always me that it's implicit in the concept of duty that the dutiful person's own inclinations are in some way counter to whatever "doing their duty" means.

I once encountered a really worrying example of this where someone talked about "the duty of parent hood" and said quite bluntly that she really disliked spending time with her daughter, but did it anyway because it was "her duty"

I'm really not convinced this is a good way of thinking or behaving, or a really useful way of thinking about helping others or ourselves.

I'd rather say that it's something implicit in the way a person is, the way he/she perceives the world and other people in it, and in the situation that provokes a desire to do something for someone else, ---- or for themselves.

Of course as people here will know very well, people are quite capable of feeling contrary desires. I'd be quite willing to bet that even a really good parent wouldn't always want to spend time supporting their child, but they do so because that's the way they are, ---- and I'd hope that a good child would then recognize this and recipricate appropriately.

So as far as Ms goes, I'd agree with other people, ---- that it's not about duty, it's just about the way a person is, and what is useful to them.

when i first found Ms, I really felt unable to post anything, sinse I was conscious that a lot of people here were really hurting and I felt utterly powerless to help, ---- which made me feel really bad. I'm really sorry if this comes across as arrogant, and please don't think I'm saying I'm a super altruistic person, ---- it's just the way I felt at the time.

what I'm coming to realize now, is firstly that I can't change another person's feelings just because there's something in me that wants to, and secondly, if I really want to do something to help, the best thing I can do is just be with someone else while their feeling like that, which will in turn be helpful to me.

realizing this has not been easy, but it's been a really useful thing for me to know, and something I've felt I've learnt from Ms, and something which I think lots of the chaps here already do and know very well.

will I hang around ms putting my ore into various threads for years to come? I don't know. will I write academically on the subject? I don't know. Will I go public and present papers on it at conferences etc? I don't know that either.

Perhaps, perhaps not. What matters is what I'm doing here and now.

I'm really sorry for the philosophical uba wrant, I know I do ahve a tendency to go on a bit with these things, ---- it's just this is a subject I've been thinking about as well.

#219941 - 04/23/08 07:10 PM Re: What's our duty, and to who? [Re: dark empathy]
VLinvictus Offline

Registered: 12/05/07
Posts: 273
Loc: NY
"Duty" is an interesting concept in this regard.

It makes me think of Kant and the Categorical Imperative. "Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law."


"Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, always at the same time as an end and never merely as a means to an end."


"Therefore, every rational being must so act as if he were through his maxim always a legislating member in the universal kingdom of ends."

OTOH, I recall the 12th Step of Alcoholics Anonymous: "Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs."

The theory behind that is that it is only through helping others that we can hold on to the serenity and healing we have achieved for ourselves. I've experienced a great deal of truth in that notion.

For example, I used to be terrified of HIV. No matter what it did or didn't do, I freaked out with fear that I had it. What conquered that fear was educating myself about it and then volunteering on a Q&A site to help other people through their own paranoid crises.

Helping others through the journey of healing from CSA would seem to me an integral part of healing and maintaining that healing for ourselves. Unfortunately, psychic wounds don't seem to heal like physical ones. The scars remain and the wounds can open up years later even after we think we're "cured."


We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
~ Oscar Wilde

#219976 - 04/23/08 10:03 PM Re: What's our duty, and to who? [Re: VLinvictus]
dark empathy Offline

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 2712
Loc: durham, north england
I'm afraid Dan, I'm not a big Kant fan. I do not think people are always rational, nor would I want to be. i'm much more Hume orientated, ---- ie, reason is the slave of the passions. In recovery, both in helping others and helping ourselves, i'd prefer to think about altering and dealing with our passions.

Certainly, if someone has helped me, as the chaps on here and my wonderful friends have, I'm certain that they are warm, human individuals, than cold calculating rational agents symply obeying a cold hearted lotical maxim. also, I'm not convinced we do even act on maxims, or that we can will something to be universal, but before this goes into an anti Kant wrant, i'll stop, feel free to Pm me if you want a chat about this, sinse it's something I both really enjoy discussing, and actually which helps me ffeel more energetic and creative, considdering other's points of view, comparing them to what I think is a useful ethical principle and responding in a productive way.

#220929 - 04/27/08 09:57 PM Re: What's our duty, and to who? [Re: dark empathy]
ak Offline

Registered: 01/10/04
Posts: 1491
I think, everyone here say it, that first responsibility is to ourself, and to be the best person we can be. Because then we are having a great 'impact' on the people and world around us, by being the best person we can be.

And if it is like 'survivor karma' you are wondering about, I think you have already done a great job of giving back, to people here and to other people not at this site. Knowing you better then many here, I can speak that you do quite your 'duty' to other people, on a regular basis. Don't worry at all about that.


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