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#453596 - 11/14/13 09:29 AM of mom and men
focusedbody Offline

Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 542
Loc: NY
My 85 year old mom recently told me about a couple of incidents in her childhood that today would be characterized as some kind of CSA.

It involves one of my uncles. What's interesting about it is that she says that it helped her see men as human. She grew up thinking of them (and being taught to think of them) in an idealized way.

On the one hand, I can see where she is coming from. It helped her get over a certain inability to relate to her brothers. On the other hand, I can also imagine that it put her "in control" of her interactions with men.

For instance, I am the only person who she has told this to, aside from a psychotherapist about 40 years ago. When I think of her having gone through this childhood experience, it occurs to me that it could have become a way that she could forever hold something over men as well. More specifically, it seems like the feeling of shame is something she could imagine she feels mastery over, especially with regard to male sexuality. By keeping this secret all these years, she may have maintained a certain illusion that by having control over shame, she can manage men better.

In the long run, this control keeps a lid on all her other feelings as well. This was particularly damaging for me growing up because shame was never processed in a safe manner, especially around sexual subjects.

It would be great to hear from people who have gone through anything similar. It would be a godsend for me to understand what happens when someone lets go of idealization in addition to handling the feelings of shame in a way that felt healthy.

Lose the drama; life is a poem.

#453613 - 11/14/13 03:27 PM Re: of mom and men [Re: focusedbody]
victor-victim Offline

Registered: 09/27/03
Posts: 6387
Loc: 𝒪 𝒦anada
my mother was exposed to CSA and it ruined her.
she fell apart and ended up institutionalized and medicated throughout most of my childhood memory.
she was a master mind manipulator and used rejection, guilt, shame, anger, and denial to brainwash and control her kids.
i managed to escape, but my sisters are still stuck in the cult.
she allowed her own brothers to sexually abuse her own daughters and nieces.
any facts can be easily dismissed with defiant denial.
i can't be around her, even when she is a great mood,
because that can change in an instant.
i have to walk away and stay away, because the confrontations in the past have often involved screaming, threats, violence, and police.


#453619 - 11/14/13 05:23 PM Re: of mom and men [Re: focusedbody]
lucylives Offline

Registered: 04/07/11
Posts: 367
I am sorry that happened tyo your mother. I don't see how she sees men as human now when that was an inhuman way to act.

My mom experience many traumatic things in her life including a violent rape when my brother and I were there in the house with her.

If anything, know these things about my mom helps me understand her a lot better and I would say I am much more understanding of any shortcomings she has (Victor, not even close to what youa re describing, I am talking shortcomings not evil behavior.)

#453649 - 11/14/13 08:48 PM Re: of mom and men [Re: focusedbody]
sugarbaby Offline

Registered: 08/17/08
Posts: 382
Now that I know more about it I'd bet good money my dad had PTSD. Maybe not from CSA but PTSD all the same. He is gone now so I can't ask him.

Edited by sugarbaby (11/14/13 08:50 PM)

#453672 - 11/15/13 12:38 AM Re: of mom and men [Re: focusedbody]
HD001 Offline

Registered: 07/30/12
Posts: 276
Loc: us
I can relate to your Mom. I was raised lds in utah and it is a VERY male dominated culture. After my csa it definatly knocked men off the pedastool I was taught to put them on. when I was physically abused by my dad who was a respected member of the church community it knocked men down further for me. As I grew I became very very good at using men to get what I wanted. For a long time I maintained careful control of all male interactions and if I didn't get what I wanted I quickly cut the guy off without any saddness whatsoever. I never let any of them too close either. I believed that they could not be trusted.
Looking back I do think that this was a way to side step any shame or pain about being abused. Instead I told myself that I was stronger and tuffer because of what happened to me.
It took a long time for me to realize that that treating men this way wasn't healthy and it wasn't right.
The big thing that changed my mind about men was watching my little bro grow up. I realized that he was just as vulnerable and loving as any little girl.
Everything comes from within

#453715 - 11/15/13 05:51 AM Re: of mom and men [Re: focusedbody]
focusedbody Offline

Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 542
Loc: NY
What's strange about this is that my Mom feels that it didn't change her in any way. She was kind of intent on not being like her own Mom, so when it happened she says she didn't feel threatened. I guess for her it was a kind of badge that showed how strong she was.

I can't disagree with her if this is how she understands it. But I can address her holding onto feelings, including shame. Today I asked her to tell someone else about the incident besides me. For years she seems to have enmeshed with me, including somehow passing on to me feelings of shame about men and how they can't be trusted. I've worked through a lot of this, but there is still some kind of fear that is holding out.

I guess it is a fear of her not controlling her own impulses for so many years which eventually left me confused and exhausted from vigilance. Usually when I get her to talk about feelings of shame in a more open way, I find I can trust her more and let go of some of my ancient anxieties that lurk in the background of how we relate to each other.

Thank you all for giving me some perspective on this kind of thing. It's so hard for me to feel where I myself am coming from and it helps to speak in a different context, namely in this forum.

Lose the drama; life is a poem.

#453959 - 11/16/13 02:11 PM Re: of mom and men [Re: focusedbody]
Esposa Offline

Registered: 10/19/11
Posts: 811
Loc: NJ
Victor - your mom sounds like my mother in law. When my husband tells therapists about his mom, I think they believe he is exaggerating. After 20 years, I still can't get my head around some of the things she did to him and to his siblings. And they are still in the "cult" and he is the BAD SON for breaking away.


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