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#530624 - 01/11/19 07:06 PM If you had a good father/male role model, Question
DanielQ432 Offline

Registered: 03/31/17
Posts: 323
Loc: Midwest
I have questions. I have beem focused for years on the damage his abnormal behavior and actions did to me. But lately I’ve flipped the question - I know the harm he did to me by abusing me, my mom, and family, but what harm has been done to me psychologically, emotionally, even physically/somatic by the normal and positive things I should have had but didn’t. This is a lot harder for me to see, because it’s really asking to describe an object that used to fit in a hole based solely on the shape and size of the hole? The hole tells me nothing about the million potential other attributes of that object.

For example, typical interests of most American men - sports. I know zilch about any of them, don’t follow them. While there are no doubt millions of other men that are just like that, I can’t deny that my lack of knowledge has “kept me out of the club” so to speak, on a lot of occasions. Last month even at my family holiday gathering (we did all survive and are more or less functional), all of my male relatives, b-i-l 1 and 2, newphews, and their sons and daughters’ significant others all launched into a big discussion of the 2018 NFL and college seasons. I didn’t fit in with the men. In the other direction, all of the women were getting the dinner ready, and, realistically I probably know as much about cooking as any of them, but they were immersed in discussion of an upcoming family wedding shower and wedding. So, I felt completely out of place, and I just kind of slipped away into another room and had to console myself by spending time with my niece’s dog, who was exiled in there until dinner was over.

It certainly didn’t make me feel like one of the guys, and I certainly didn’t get any punches on my man card that night.

Just one example, I can think of a lot more, from the way the service manager and mechanics at the Chevy dealer where I take my car look at me like I’m a moron because I know nothing about mechanical things, to the way I literally never had anyone explain sex and relationships to me, to the fact that I only know one knot in a tie because again, I had no one in my life as a role model.

He wasn’t, he was an abusive tormenting bully, and as part of the whole domestic violence, uber-controlling power trip, he systematically and intentionally cut me off from any outside potential mentor, role model, or even just other boys/young men my own age with whom I should have had friendships and bonds.

What would life with actual, normal, healthy, supportive and loving male role models actually be like?

I don’t know if this is more of a question, or just more of a rant, sorry.

#530629 - 01/11/19 09:07 PM Re: If you had a good father/male role model, Question [Re: DanielQ432]
Ceremony Offline

Registered: 09/14/16
Posts: 3022
Loc: Minnesota
Hi DanielQ, Thank you for your thoughts, much of what you've shared resonates with me. I too am mostly inept during any sport season, and would barely know a famous quarterback's name, let alone other team players. I too feel like I've made some mistake if I am unaware of Football or Baseball. It seems Basketball and Hockey I can be forgiven, but the constant of Fb and Bb in other men's conversations is noticeable.

I've wondered what I would have learned? The what if isn't where I've been thinking lately, rather in recent weeks I've shifted toward letting myself feel the sense of loss. Grieving it. I'm finding this is happening right after one of the worst depression episodes I've ever had, and that seems kind of odd. I wonder if I'll slip back into depression, but this is different. I don't feel the depressive sad, just sad. Does that make sense?

I think coming through that horrible episode, and being stabilized with a new med., I can manage looking at the losses, seeing what I've not noticed because I hadn't learned it. And the key, to me is what you're writing is about, that we weren't seeing a role model to get an example, we were adrift in what circumstances appeared before us. The choice wasn't there, it was more the not knowing anything, and having so much fear that each new school would have the same experience. Being ignored unless I had something someone wanted. I made one sort of good friend, but that would be it. I can remember his name, and that makes me sad too. It's odd to me how so many people I encounter talk about high school reunions. My dad included and I resent it. I've let it go, but it's irked me that he wouldn't have a clue that I had nothing to compare experience about friends in high school.

I don't remember having many friends in elementary school either. There was one year that I have a recollection of liking a girl, and she kissed me. I was astonished, but liked it. Then I recall this one boy, who seemed to really like me, but his parents eventually didn't want me over. I moved soon, so it didn't matter.

I'm sorry your dad was so brutal, that betrayal does the same toward isolating you, as my not having one. But, I know the fear you experienced every day with him would take a toll. That's what I'm sorry about, because I get it. You're worth being cared for, I'm learning to separate my hurt boyhood, from what I am thinking toward now. But, it's still there as part of my history. That's the grieving I'm doing. I will have to ask my T if what I'm doing is a kind of compartmentalizing strategy to accept my history? Maybe that's what it is?

I hope you're Ok with my commenting about what my circumstance were, I'm not trying to compare, but I had hoped to convey those things make your story resonate with me.

#530632 - 01/12/19 08:31 AM Re: If you had a good father/male role model, Question [Re: DanielQ432]
WG Offline

Registered: 09/09/15
Posts: 543
Loc: WA
My Dad was part of the physical abuse. Not constant, but enough during my early years, before he left us. However, he came back into my life at age 16, my Mom was ready to go to another state with one of the men in her life and my Dad and I moved 1,200 miles away.
What I learned from him during those years was almost always usable and for life. I learned how to change the oil and transmission fluid on my 65 Mustang. I learned how to gap the spark plugs and check the air in the tires with the gauge. I learned how to paint a house and square up framing on a house. I learned how to balance a check book, show up for work on time and give the boss a good days' work. I learned how to sharpen a lawnmower blade, use the washing machine and the dryer. I learned how to drive a clutch - both on the floor and the steering column type - I learned how to treat other people in the work place and how to handle my money.
Sure, the childhood years were tough. Yes, they were among the most difficult times - besides the sexual abuse by the neighbor - yet in those highschool/college years he tried to do something to move me along in life. Where that all came from and how he came to the conclusion to stop hurting and start helping, I do not know. I never asked about any of my childhood and he never offered. As Ceremony said - I've learned through therapy to separate out the feelings and rememberances. He wasn't all bad nor all good. He was a mix. Like my Mom, like everyone else on this earth. I had to get to the point in my recovery where I forgave them both. Easy? No. Necessary for my mental well-being? Absolutely. Sure, he had his bad side - slapped, hit, shoved, even burned with cigarettes. Not constantly as I said, but it happened. He also had a good side - as I just said in the paragraph above. I, too, have a difficult side and a not-so-difficult side. Imagine that.
I've taken the time in my time with my T over the years to grieve the loss of childhood innocence. I did that in many sessions until I didn't need to do it any longer. Yes, I know, as far as I can tell, that I missed out on any number of things as a boy. Some of it I can do now. Most I can never return to.
As for feeling left out when it comes to certain conversations or group talks : if I don't know, I ask. I tell them I don't know a lot about that subject and I'd like to know more. Sometimes when we do that, the people in the conversation are glad to tell you about a subject the yfeel passionate about - like me with car-stuff. Feeding the isolation didn't work when I was a teenager, it doesn't work now. Sometimes I ask what the terms mean, sometimes I just listen. When there's a lag in the conversation, I bring up another topic. Or I just wait. Something I learned a long time ago - we learn how to be men in the presence of other men. That doesn't mean we have to know everything - they don't know everything either. So I stay in the moment. I'm just as much of a man as they are. I found that I will not learn how to be a man discussing the neighbor's latest argument, the newest fashions or gossiping about someones life.
By the way, Ceremony, you stated a really good thing when you said that the constant talk of baseball and football in other men's conversations in noticeable. There's a reason for that : it's safe. It's not emotional, although any passion is directed at the players or their skills. It's not about anything to do with them personally so it is safe territory since nothing personal is revealed. It's safe because the conversation can be stopped anywhere and no one is left feeling like they didn't say what they wanted to.It's not a talk about women or money or what they own....that's too personal, unless it's meant to degrade someone. Men don't show feelings/emotions too readily because we're hard-wired to not be highly emotional. That's not to say some men are and some women aren't wired that way. We're not cookie-cutter. But its the center-marker on that continuum. Hope that made sense.......

#530636 - 01/12/19 09:56 AM Re: If you had a good father/male role model, Question [Re: DanielQ432]

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 4229
Originally Posted By DanielQ432
I have questions. I know the harm he did to me by abusing me, my mom, and family, but what harm has been done to me psychologically, emotionally, even physically/somatic by the normal and positive things I should have had but didn’t. This is a lot harder for me to see, because it’s really asking to describe an object that used to fit in a hole based solely on the shape and size of the hole? The hole tells me nothing about the million potential other attributes of that object.

I don’t know if this is more of a question, or just more of a rant, sorry.

Daniel Q432

I have read this thread several times. Your question, and I think it is a question and not a rant. I truly believe we are shaped by our experiences--good and bad--and at the same time we all have innate interests from sports to sciences to design to the arts, etc. and areas of non-interest from sports to sciences to design to the arts etc. Some interests can lie dormant and later nurtured. Exposure to different aspects of life let's us know what we truly enjoy.

Many believe all men must follow sports, but for many it is not a true interest. I believe we all have parents that have their own issues and quirks, their own interests. You can find in families where one son loves football like his dad and another son who has no interest in the sport. Why because we have different genetic and physiological make-ups.

My father was a good man but there was a period in time when he faced his alcoholism. He was rough and could be mean. In time he overcame the demons of his past. He faced the issue head on. He came from a family which did not hold grudges, were not mean spirited. I have come to understand I possess these traits for I have no grudges and accept we are all screwed up in someway. I know many where families did not speak, like my own and others for years. I have learned people judge and blame the other for their issues. Yes our parents even if they appear the most loving cause issues in children's lives from control, guilt, and lessons learned on how they treat others. My father said you never know what is in their head and just listen and be nice.

I too am not a sports fan, my older brother is a fan. My dad enjoyed sports. Despite the difficulties created in early life from my father's drinking I look at those times more ambivalent these days. There was a time in my 20's that I felt the pain and felt it hurt me. I think how much was from my CSA and how much was it from a childhood, which had changed for the better 10 or so years sooner. I do not know. I do know my father did not have an easy life, his father was a very difficult man. He had scars but his mother never judged his father. She knew more about my grandfather than others and knew his demons probably better than any of us. Despite the difficulties my father caused for a period of time in my childhood, I learned a valuable lesson, never judge others. I have been judged for things that happened from the CSA and I admit I judged those that either spat on me, locked me in a room and those that condoned these and many other acts, but I accept they have their demons and it is easier to blame someone who is down and out instead of facing their demons. One day I hope they do so they can find the peace I am experiencing since I faced the demons of CSA and childhood. Too many people run from the childhood issues, put on rose colored glasses and say look at us, we are the perfect family. Run from those that utter those words.

Recently I was out with someone whose family I have known for years. A good family. I think what I admire most about their family were the parents who worked as a unit, never allowing the child to control the home, never allowing a child to abuse or disrespect the other parent, guest or relative, always welcoming and the kids were honest about their feelings. It was a "real" family, not one that hid their secrets or where parents were not the ones in charge nor found constant joy in laughing and mocking others to elevate their sense of worth. Today, the family with another generation, is the same, honest and "real". They faced issues but accepted the issues. One recently was a granddaughter who is gay married her partner. The family is definitely not a diverse family as to race race, religion, etc. The granddaughter married a woman of color. The family somewhat conservative embraced despite the "newness" of this to the older in family, even joking how she truly brought diversity into the family. They welcomed the partner and the wedding was attended by the entire family of grandparents, aunts, uncles and a large group of cousins. I truly believe if one is open and honest about themselves and their life they can accept life and the realness of the world, imperfect, diverse and challenging. This family accepts their imperfections, issues and can tell each other how they feel.

Daniel, in a long and drawn out way, I can never answer your question but rather encourage you to look at who you are--the good, the bad--and change what you want to change. Find interests that you possess a passion and do not dwell on other interests that may have been or may never have been. Remember the past is only a small part of our lives, I know easier said than done and still struggle at times with the CSA, and the present and future is all we have to live. Focus on yourself and try not to ask the questions why me or what would I have been if I had not been abused instead ask what do I want today and tomorrow to be.

I think I rambled here.


#530644 - 01/12/19 06:28 PM Re: If you had a good father/male role model, Question [Re: DanielQ432]
Tom E. Offline

Registered: 01/08/17
Posts: 666
Loc: FL
My Dad wasn't really that great a role model for me. He worked, he played golf, he drank alcohol a lot, a womanizer, had anger issues sometimes if he disagreed with you. I adored him when I was a little boy, but when my adolescent years hit, a wide chasm between us developed. I was ashamed of who I was and what was happening to me sexually & I shunned him. I couldn't talk about it with him. I was afraid of his judging me or rejecting me. I started rejecting his conservative values & opinions, because I couldn't fit in to all of that. A very difficult time for me.


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