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#426367 - 02/25/13 06:06 AM feminization of the survivor
ThisMan Offline

Registered: 01/23/13
Posts: 778
Loc: upper south
Twice last week, I encountered comments that, shall we say, could have inadvertently set me back quite a distance. Both referenced and passed on to me the feminization that most males would rather not hear. Especially if they have endured child rape or adult rape. Or both. And both comments where in situations and locations that should have been safe venues for discussion or support. But for a few days, the comments have passed thru my mind several times a day. And they seem lodged there tonight.

First, I was with my T. The session was great and I broke down and cried for a moment when talking about the angel experience I had. (That's why, my friends, you may have noticed I often close with the simple word "angels"...I have seen to be exact- but that is a different blessing). That led to a discussion of the unexplained fear I have. Which of course is related to both the rapes of childhood and the the rape of middle-age. And I suppose the therapist was tired or irritated or carrying some other baggage that day, but she just looked at me and deadpanned..."well, welcome to womanhood..."

Welcome to "womanhood"? ??? I just have no words to say. You are sexually used and abused by older boys. Afer a while they know you are different and they use sissy, fag, and all the other terms to defile your being... You are groomed and raped by a grown man before you are old enough to shave. You are raped at 50. You are the receptacle, the receiver of the male, the sexual object against your will. This all results in ptsd, or whatever, and you feel used and abused all over...and RAPED... and this one comment becomes the elephant in your head. Welcome to "womanhood". I know she was referring to the fear women have of being alone or walking alone, etc. but still. A man does not want to be feminized, especially if he has just been raped.

The other remark came in the MS chat room. I had read the rules of behavior. I am pretty socially conservative with comments, etc. I know social etiquette. I would NEVER make a light hearted attempt at humor with a sexual remark in a room of sexual abuse survivors. I think it would be like yelling "fire!" to a room of burn victims. Call me old fashioned. In attempting to make safe intro of myself I just ask of the unwritten rules. First rule that came forth..."don't be a female part beginning with a C..." Really. That which I heard growing up, that which I was used for at 50. And in my first attempt in the SAFE chat room, someone says "don't be a c...". Really?

Actually, that was a major trigger for me. I know rationally it was a lame attempt at humor. But emotionally, in a safe chat for abuse survivors... The older guy who had me as a kid used that word. Many times. I am fighting the feeling that I was that word at 50.

Every day I fight to retain some semblance of manhood. Wedged between 21 and 50 I had found him. When the child abuse collided with the adult rape, I lost him. I want to be more than a feminized male. I am more. More than a hurt little boy, more than a rape victim. I am more. More than the receptacle for a penis. Not a c..., not a female wanna-be or inductee into the "woman"-hood. I am me. Male. Mister. Sexuality is irrelevant. I am me. Becoming stronger and wiser and braver and I refuse to let those terms describe me. And tonight I find I make no apologies and that is refreshing to me.

Angles, my friends.
For now we see through a glass, darkly.

#426368 - 02/25/13 06:31 AM Re: feminization of the survivor [Re: ThisMan]
Sterling Offline

Registered: 10/25/08
Posts: 1822
Loc: Winnipeg, Manitoba,Canada
that is cool ThisMan! I am sorry that you had to experience
that! Not very respectful! I am with you, in the same way;
i too am sensitive in terms that people have throw to describe-
scaring the shit out of me!


#426372 - 02/25/13 07:10 AM Re: feminization of the survivor [Re: ThisMan]
SoccerStar Offline

Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 929
The reflexive response on this site is to say "I'm sorry such-and-such happened," except in this case I'm not sorry - I'm FURIOUS!!!

"Welcome to womanhood" is an unbelievably snotty and unprofessional piece of shit thing for a so-called therapist to say to a male survivor of sexual assault, when HALF THE FUCKING POINT OF THE PROBLEM is the devastation of masculinity and gender identity!!! WTF??

I'm sure I'm not the only guy here who cringes to think of himself as a "bitch," who has to consciously work to AVOID that terminology - even as a thought!

So, like, if a WOMAN went to that same therapist, after, oh, say, the trauma of someone breaking into her house and spraying her with napalm and burning half her skin off, and all the patient could remember was the terror of falling fire and the reek of her own burning flesh... would she have been met by that T with a similarly deadpanned "Well, welcome to the Vietnam War"?

If everybody's problems were the same, they wouldn't be problems at all and everybody would be fine. This is just intellectual laziness and a disregard for the needs of the wounded to be reassured and validated.

There ARE really bad therapists out there. I had the (mis)fortune of encountering one during a phone screening - could tell within 15 minutes that I couldn't trust her to take my problems seriously.

Or, maybe she's a good therapist overall but had a really bad, off day. Even good doctors kill their patients every now and then. You just have to hope not to be one of them.

This sucks, Bill, and I honestly don't know what to say. Except that, fuck her, she was wrong and shouldn't have said what she did. You are not a woman. You are not a bitch or a c**t. You are a man.

We all are.

My story

"Don't think it hasn't been a little slice of Heaven just because it hasn't!" --Bugs Bunny

#426374 - 02/25/13 07:28 AM Re: feminization of the survivor [Re: ThisMan]
Lancer Offline

Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 901
Loc: Florida
Bill, I'm sorry man. I don't have words...well, I do.

There's such a thing as re-victimizing. And in my recovery I've found that completely unacceptable. Nor will I stand for it.

While interviewing attorneys for my CSA case, I interviewed one with a well-known reputation. But it was all about HIM. I became frustrated with his lack of responsiveness and broached the subject - albeit in a detached manner - with his robo-secretary. Eventually I was able to confront Mr. Larger-Than-Life Atty. It seemed we'd reached an understanding until his parting shot, "...and don't you ever hang up on my secretary again!" My calm, firm response? "Okay, sir, we're done." Got his attention and an apology (of sorts) but I never went back.

I won't discuss the MS chat except to say I've stayed out of the room exactly because of these kinds of stories.

More importantly, imo, your Ts comment was arrogant, invalidating, insensitive, sexist, unprofessional and out of bounds (and those are the nice adjectives). I'd start shopping for a new one asap. Your call on whether you want to confront her before packing your bags and whether you even want to pay for a session to do it. (My last T had considerable conflict of interest issues and no way was I going to pay him for the dubious privilege of telling him about it. He got a phone call).

One more comment. It sounds like you and I are quite similar Bill. I suppose one advantage of our CSA is the ability to detach and analyze objectively (kinda watered-down DID, I suppose). Your comment about the T perhaps having a bad day is evidence of that. You're not letting her off the hook, but the recognition is significant. Nor did you automatically make yourself "wrong". That's pretty advanced stuff. Even more advanced is, despite the unacceptable behavior and that you recognized her possible POV, you kept focused on your own issues and feelings as well. That's really, really good stuff, brother. Keep it up.

imo, it's like you've really integrated this:

#426375 - 02/25/13 07:32 AM Re: feminization of the survivor [Re: ThisMan]
traveler Offline

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 4199
Loc: resettling in NE Ohio
Bill -
the first part of the post - your story - really burned me. i hate it when any group claims that it has a corner on the market of some particular brand of suffering or abuse or victimization. as if - only females ever are mistreated???!!! give me a break - so blind and ignorant - as if that wasn't the whole point of needing professional assistance. as if you are supposed to feel more sorry for her - because of her gender. as if - don't let me get started!

BUT - this part:

Originally Posted By: ThisMan
I am more. More than a hurt little boy, more than a rape victim. I am more. More than the receptacle for a penis. Not a c..., not a female wanna-be or inductee into the "woman"-hood. I am me. Male. Mister. Sexuality is irrelevant. I am me. Becoming stronger and wiser and braver and I refuse to let those terms describe me. And tonight I find I make no apologies and that is refreshing to me.

Angles, my friends.

- - - that is beautiful. that is strong. that is worthy to be engraved in bronze and hung on the wall! that could be your mantra or mission statement or declaration of independence. oh yeah - and frame it with giant stone carvings of ANGELS!

How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save?
Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?...
Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails....
Habakkuk 1:2-3

#426445 - 02/25/13 09:00 PM Re: feminization of the survivor [Re: ThisMan]
Jude Offline

Registered: 08/09/12
Posts: 1633
Loc: New England
Originally Posted By: ThisMan
....she just looked at me and deadpanned..."well, welcome to womanhood..."

Just my opinion, but I would 1) Tell her what she said was totally inappropriate.
2) Fire her ass.
3) Report her to the lisencing board in your state.
4) Find a T with experience in working with trauma victims
5) Move on with your recovery.

I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories
Sarah McLachlan

#426450 - 02/25/13 09:25 PM . [Re: ThisMan]
Life's A Dream Offline

Registered: 08/25/11
Posts: 886
Loc: Bouvet Island

Edited by Life's A Dream (04/22/13 02:33 AM)

#426492 - 02/26/13 03:19 AM Re: feminization of the survivor [Re: ThisMan]
ThisMan Offline

Registered: 01/23/13
Posts: 778
Loc: upper south
Thanks for the words, guys. Yesterday I had a few hours of confident strength, actually a few days, and I felt I wanted to share the story and I also wanted to take control of those remarks.

Tonight is not so good. Not as bad as it has been, but it feels downward again. Maybe I won't go so low this time. I will definitely talk with the T regarding the remark of "womanhood". But this being in the Bible belt, etc., its difficult to locate a therapist I can feel comfortable with who can deal with someone my age and gender and experience and then sexual trauma, both past and present. So I am not certain I can fire her and find another and i just can't do it alone anymore. I did another on-line search and could find none.

Plenty of Christian counselors, but I have been there, done that. As an aside, I even did a brief stint with a grief counselor when the spouse passed away. For whatever reason, I wound up listening and giving advice on marriage, the husband, etc, to the lady. lol. I did more for her than she for me. I still find that pretty funny. But its okay. We all need a listening ear. Oh, and I did fire her.

For now we see through a glass, darkly.

#426502 - 02/26/13 04:08 AM Re: feminization of the survivor [Re: ThisMan]
Publius Offline

Registered: 03/13/12
Posts: 444
Loc: OH
Not only am I sorry to hear about your experience but also the precarious position it has placed you in as far as access to professional guidance and sensitive support. While her comments could be construed as a poor attempt at humor I am frankly disappointed to hear a therapist make such a remark. The deeper implications of her quip are disturbing to say the least. After all, not only is she equating our experiences with femininity but she is suggesting that femininity, or "womanhood, is somehow indivisible from that fear you attempted to explore in a safe environment. Furthermore, the MS chat incident was as unacceptable as it was avoidable. I certainly hope the moderators make haste in amending the rules accordingly or, if they do not exist, that some sort of precaution is put in place so that sort of thing becomes scarce.
"Life is like this dark tunnel. You may not always see the light at the end of the tunnel, but if you keep moving, you will come to a better place." ~ General Iroh

#426517 - 02/26/13 05:34 AM Re: feminization of the survivor [Re: ThisMan]
Lancer Offline

Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 901
Loc: Florida
We're kinda in the same boat on the T, Bill. When I fired mine a few weeks ago I thot it was at the worst possible time...starting a new medical treatment. But I felt I could no longer trust him and that was my bottom line. Interestingly, I'm just fine. I have my low points, more side effects to the new meds, but I've been able to hash that out and live with it for now.

What's particularly interesting to me is that I've made some serious, successful progress on disclosure to family members WITHOUT a T. Results are mixed, but overwhelmingly positive. No one's more surprised than me. (It's meant, however, I'm posting to MS and leaning on my bros considerably more than usual).

Meanwhile, I've shopped thru 5 additional Ts with dismal results (and I'm in a major metro area), except for one who at least has experience with my medical condition, though not CSA nor PTSD.

Just sum thots.

#426521 - 02/26/13 06:01 AM Re: feminization of the survivor [Re: ThisMan]
brokenbuthealing Offline

Registered: 02/24/13
Posts: 2
That was a really crappy thing for a therapist to say. In my opinion, some women either are sympathetic to you or they think you are pathetic. I told an ex-girlfriend what happened to me. She then told me I was a sissy, I must have wanted and that I was gay because I did not stop it. She then broke up with me. That was not the reaction I was expecting. I have told three different girlfriends what happened to me and they all broke up with me. Is there a correlation? I decided not to tell any future girlfriend. Male therapist can be just as bad. I had a male therapist hit on me. I would tell him my issues and he would try to manipulate me into thinking I am gay. For someone with a lot of trust issues, I have been much more careful choosing a therapist whether male or female.

#426842 - 03/01/13 05:49 PM Re: feminization of the survivor [Re: ThisMan]
Zug Offline

Registered: 02/18/13
Posts: 56
Loc: Progress
I have had similar experiences, I can empathize. Sorry it has happened to you.
T comments would be total deal breaker for me.
Comments like the other, whether chat room or in person are dangerous for me. They are difficult because these are the kinds of words that perps and people who target the weak use to keep us down. For me, it's really that simple.
This issue is something that I have struggled with over the years, so I will apologize for long post.
When confronted (I know it sounds extreme to some, feels this way) with situations I tend to either fold up, submit, knuckle under-or I lash out.
Brings up crazy feelings from childhood-abuse, etc. and then the feelings from adult abuse-awful in terms of automatic anger and rage-to feel some power, to protect myself-to prove I cannot be taken advantage of.
At this time in my life comments like these can cause me to either shut off and withdraw (for fear of lashing out, or because it triggers me) -or- lashing out, then withdrawing (it triggers me). These things can majorly knock me off course. Either through shutting off or through pissing others off. The intense shame, guilt, etc. that has always been there, as long as I can remember- that is always overwhelming after acting out and with so many negative consequences over the years.

There are powerful feelings at play-self worth, frustration, rage, the desire to do better, pressure to 'amount to something', etc. These strong, injured feelings are instantly brought up from comments/treatment like you describe-they have physical sensations, etc associated with them. It's strange, never totally noticed that before. Another new skill.

Dealing with abuse has shown sources of those feelings. I don't have to give in to anger. I have been able to start to unravel some of these complex, powerful feelings. My anger that results from situations doesn't have to be a factor, at all and I don't have to feel crushed, like I lost, again.

I am re-figuring out the shame here is not mine, it belongs to others. I need to live that, I don't have to be self conscious. I don't have to 'own' what 'they' say about me-no matter what the source, just deal with my own stuff. I have come to these conclusions after a lot of careful thought and reflection.

In many ways, it's like learning a new habit, I have tried various times with varying success over the years to do this. There was a time when I was well respected, calm, competent person. I could get there again.

There was a sense of protection/preservation developed in me. I was taught to be protective, to defend what people 'said about us'. So in these situations for me, there is a feeling of strong self preservation, duty that has been ingrained. I take responsibility for my actions; but there have been other powerful forces at work here that I did not understand for most of life. I am now recognizing the reality (yep, I said it) of what has been my life. Not what I want it to be, not what I can tolerate. This picture of my life and the people in it, is being assembled, in bits, slowly. It's painful.

Combining all this an upbringing that generally favored violence/intimidation-'always watch your back' attitude to solve issues/problems with ptsd symptoms that have ramped up over the course of my life, and that strongly ingrained duty to be protective and it's been interesting. I can't change other people, situations, I have to learn to deal. Understand what bothers me and work at it, be whole, healthy. Something I never had a chance at, never understood, knew about. This part of what gave me different results in my life always baffled me.

Let's face it; we can work on ourselves and become better people to a greater/degree according to our nature, but we can't change others. People will always be mean (it's human nature), more so if they think it will give them POWER-that is what I have learned- I have been guilty of it. Whether; family, school admin, mental health, clergy, etc. For us as survivors, it cuts extra deep when someone we look to for help does this I think, for obvious reasons.

As far as changing it for me; I do my best not to speculate or hold on to those things, not fall into dead end, negative emotions. Some days are better than others-I have to:
-be patient of myself and others something I struggle with a lot.
-ask for help with this from power(s) greater than myself, mental health folks, etc.
-accept things as they are, not imagine them as I would like them to be.
-Willing;in spite of pain, fear, anxiety. To face it-all of it the 'idea' of it, but also the specific stuff. All of it painful.
Just because I'm not willing (or able on occasion)to 'charge ahead' is ok. I can take my time. Challenge but not overwhelm. Work on simple stuff like breathing exercises, etc (powerful stuff for me). Hold On.

I receive care in an environment where we male survivors are not looked upon with favor. I have had many negative experiences like the one you describe with supposed 'professionals' in the medical and mental health fields.

I learned long ago that I need to adjust myself to conditions, not have the expectation conditions adjust themselves to me. This has been very difficult as a survivor. Accepting this can be difficult; abuse, feelings, ego, etc get in the way. All of these things, including my feelings make my conclusions about this part of my life no less valid.
Again, sorry for long post, I'm pretty sure I'm losing at least part of my mind, lol.

Edited by Zug (03/02/13 02:43 PM)
"what matters most is how well you walk through the fire"
-Charles Bukowski

#426847 - 03/01/13 07:31 PM Re: feminization of the survivor [Re: ThisMan]
bodyguard8367 Offline

Registered: 05/16/12
Posts: 1159
Loc: ""

Edited by bodyguard8367 (02/27/14 02:26 AM)
Edit Reason: SILENCED

#426931 - 03/02/13 03:43 PM Re: feminization of the survivor [Re: ThisMan]
ThisMan Offline

Registered: 01/23/13
Posts: 778
Loc: upper south
Gentlemen, I again thank you and want to share a brief update with the T.

I saw her again near the end of the week and things were a bit different. She didn't seem as "whatever" or agitated as the previous week, and a tad more empathetic in what I did share. I also tried a new approach for me. I realized from your postings that it is I who have the power. I am paying for her services. I controlled the session. Funny, how in my emotional darkness, I forgot I have the light within me. I decided to use that light today.

I told her there would be no tears today. That the past few weeks had been really hard emotionally and I needed a break. If the topic became emotional, we changed it. If I was uncomfortable sharing, I just said, I'm not ready to talk about that, such as when she asked about random acting out. I said, "Sure, I am doing that, but I'm not ready to talk about it." Sounds counter-productive, but it was emotionally safe. I needed to know it was MY session and I had control.

If I wanted to share and wasn't comfortable with the possible reactions, I said, "I'll tell you a story about a friend. Take ME from the equation and tell me what you think regarding my friend." I also told her I did not fully trust her or her reactions and remarks. (But I don't trust anyone.) So, she has been reminded of the trust factor.

On the drive across town, I found myself completely out of body. Completely disengaged emotionally. It was the lightest of lightness. I shared that with the T and we decided it was a major disassociation. Maybe during the session, I continued with a milder form of disassociation and perhaps that was why I had no emotion.

Overall, it was what a good session is supposed to be. Safe, helping, and non-threatening. Maybe next week, I can get back to the real pain, but this week was still good on so many levels. I could not have accomplished this without your words and your thoughts. Thanks again, guys of MS. Angels.

For now we see through a glass, darkly.

#432183 - 04/23/13 07:58 PM " [Re: ThisMan]
lbcali1978 Offline

Registered: 02/16/12
Posts: 217

Edited by lbcali1978 (04/29/13 05:01 AM)
They said

Come home

I said

I'm confused and alone

They said

We understand

I found out they don't

I'll walk the path exactly how I've always done it


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