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#59242 - 12/16/05 12:51 AM Family meeting

Registered: 09/23/05
Posts: 178
Hi all

I'm not after any advise realy I just want to talk. Lst night D and I went to a family party (my family) for the first time since we broke up and then got back together.
All they know is that he was unfaitful, we seperated and now we've patched things up.
Well... there was so much love. The kids, my aunt, my graet uncle and uncle and mother. All soooo pleased to see him. Hugs, handshakes, big smiling faces, genuine pleasure he was there. He had drinks thrust at him, hugs from the children, little plates of delicious food put in his hand.

He stood fairly frozen, as you guys can imagine, and rejected it all.

Today I'm sad. All that love and he:

didn't feel worthy of it
Didn't feel it
Was unable to respond
Took little if any benefit away

Will he ever catch up with the person he really is and believe that he deserves every inch and more? He is healing, we both see it. Its bloody hard though. The tragic irony seems to be that the greater the potential for something to help a survivor to heal (like love)the higher it rates on the reject scale.

Whats that all about. I know what its about but how cruel can that be.....


#59243 - 12/16/05 01:21 AM Re: Family meeting
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey

Sounds like a mirror of my Thanksgiving. Same scenario in that it was the first time my whole family was together after our breakup and reconcilation. He didn't say anything before hand, but I assumed he was nervous because I was. It was hardly necessary as everyone was happy to see both of us.

My b/f doesn't necessarily reject the happiness that my family naturally exudes, but he is uncomfortable with it. You'd never know it at the time, but afterwards, he tells me that he can't believe such a family is real. He's even more amazed because my 3 siblings and I are adopted. He has this weird idea that our circumstances should stand between us, rather than bring us together.

It's a hard thing for me to explain, so for the most part I don't try. Sooner or later, I'm hopeful that he'll see that this is the way it should be and, in fact, in my family it is and that he'll learn to just enjoy it.

I've read here so many times that survivors have a really hard time at taking good things at their face value, always believing that someone wants something from them. I think that dealing with a loving family is just an extension of that - they want to believe, but just can't. It's probably difficult even after they begin to believe, because it just highlights exactly what they didn't have.

As long as our loved ones keep working on healing themselves, then time is on our side. I truly believe that.

Hang in there Tracy.

ROCK ON...........Trish

If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

#59244 - 12/16/05 02:15 AM Re: Family meeting
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
Hey Tracy, you should read the thread on the Survivors' forum about honoring the people who have helped you.

I am sure he sees it and will remember it, and that the love of your family is important to him, even if he can't express it or allow himself to feel it right now.

Take care \:\)

#59245 - 12/16/05 01:30 PM Re: Family meeting
riviera Offline

Registered: 06/01/05
Posts: 59
Loc: Spain
Hi Tracy,

Last week my boyfriend and I went for a week holidays to the south of Spain to spend sometime with my family. He loves them and my family simply adores him. First two days I could feel that he was a bit uncomfortable. Just the second day he had a panic attack.

It is the first time since the healing started about 11 months ago that he is meeting family with a different sense of himself and this means among other things a different way to understand and receive love and affection.
What happened was simple. He explained to me that he felt a bit scared and afraid as a result of a residual old coping behaviour. Being among loving family brought feelings of worthlesness and isolation. He understood this panic attack immediately and told me not to worry. He then already knew that he'd perfectly fine for the rest of the week after this experience. And it was so true. He was happy, lively and showing affection back to my family.
I guess that he is facing everyday situations with another perspective. And 'first time' everyday situations (since he is healing) are a bit confusing at first but having space and time to go through his feelings helped him to realize that he can enjoy being loved and that does not mean anything bad or wrong.
As long as both of us understood this reaction we were then back to having fun.

Today my boyfriend is meeting his work colleagues after work for lunch and couple of drinks cause tomorrow is his birthday. Since he has a big issue with birthdays and presents (his perp used to 'buy him out') this as you can imagine is a triggering day... no doubt. Last night he complained of his mates organizing a meal and wanting to give him a present. He was a bit agitated all evening. Then he said that he does not understand why people buy presents for each other as 'he does not need to be bought out'. He felt that they were not respecting his boundaries as they don't understand why he does not want presents. I just said that there are different 'dictionaries' used in here. For us a present means a gesture of affection. For him a present means a way to trick somebody. It is just a matter of using the same 'dictionary'. However I pointed out that he has the right to not accept presents if he does not feel ok with it. He then said that he'll think about it and got calm and cheerful for the rest of the night.

This is another of those everyday situations. But he feels this time is different. Now he has the power to choose.I am not putting myself under any pressure as I used to thinking what if things go wrong and he does not feel right and has a panic attack or a flashback and comes home devastated and feeling abandoned and lonely or tricked. I just let things happen and trust him. He has to face this situations sooner or later. And that is another important part of the recovery.

Tracy, my thoughts are with you. I know myself how hard is for us to try to fit those reactions into our reality. Unfortunately our reality is not their reality especially at the begining of the healing process. But this will change throughout the healing. That is our experience.

Again it is a matter of time and plenty of patience.
Good luck,

#59246 - 12/16/05 10:37 PM Re: Family meeting
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus

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

I am just beginning to see enough of this in my own case to try to understand it. For a survivor who was repeatedly abused (and maybe others as well) it is difficult to believe that good things and happy occasions are not organically linked to their abuse experience. If holidays and other happy occasions are followed a day - or an hour - later by getting molested yet again, it is difficult for a boy not to start drawing all sorts of false conclusions. Happiness doesn't last, joy is a fraud, affection is a trap or at least just sets you up for greater hurt, fellowship is just a come-on for sexual exploitation and humiliation, and so on.

Throw into this poisonous mix the fact that a survivor will often have concluded as a boy that these terrible things are happening because he is bad or because he isn't worth any better than this. So on a joyous day he is on red alert. The occasion doesn't make sense to him or stresses to him how isolated and estranged he is.

Can I share with you one thing that happened when I was in the States to disclose to my parents? We were all sitting around the kitchen table - myself, Mom and Dad, my sister Betsy, and a close friend. We were having coffee and dessert after dinner, and the atmosphere was lovely - just wonderful. Suddenly I started to tremble and fall apart. Feelings of dread swept over me and I absolutely could not fight them off. Within a minute I was in tears and telling everyone I am so scared "he" will come back and "it" will start all over again. That was Little Larry I guess, unable to accept that this "safe" family moment wasn't a setup and somehow a trap that would hand him over to abuse again.

You are so right - it's very sad that this happens. It denies the survivor an opportunity for so much healing comfort and support. It is just one of those things that takes time to overcome.

I will only say again that your guys are so lucky to have you.

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)

#59247 - 12/17/05 06:31 PM Re: Family meeting

Registered: 09/23/05
Posts: 178
Thanks Larry, Trish, H and Sar. The one thread that stands out in all your responses is the belief that time is on our side, it does get better and this isolation is not irrecoverable.

Its good to hear that. and so good to hear that you guys have the same experiences. I understand more now why he wants to go away at christmas.

H you said
"meeting family with a different sense of himself"
thats absolutly spot on.
I struggled a little to understand why a relativly familiar situation would leave him so frozen but you are exactly right. Its the "new him" so to speak. old coping mechanisms have been shed and in their place are new but still quite fragile ones, which are gradually growing in substance.

As I type this I realise thats why the time issue make sense. As his new coping mechanisms develop this sort of situation will (hopefully) get easier for him.

In the meantime, its an organic process. That why its so SLOW. I don't mind admitting I'm sometimes frustrated at the speed. Sometimes its tootles along quite well and then other times its like the process is slowing, regressing then goes backwards a bit just to piss you off and then whoop off it goes forward again.......

Who ever said this was a rollercoaster ride\ They were dead right.

Thanks for sharing that Larry. I hope those situations get less and less for you. How wonderful to have such an understanding family. Lovely as my lot are I think there would have been much stilted awkwardness if D had actually felt safe enough to let his emotions show through.

Cheers guys

Merry chrsitmas to you all


#59248 - 12/21/05 05:27 AM Re: Family meeting
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
he got 'respect' when he firmly believed he deserved none.

That's a toughie!


Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau


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