What motivates us to come to this forum, and for what purposes we say what is said here is really anyones guess.
Mind reading is a perilous venture; what we seem to perceive in others most often turns out to be a pale reflection of what we find most odious in ourselves.
Or as they say down here in Texas, "If you spot it, you got it."
That sort of takes the fun out of ascribing to others motives and behaviors unbecoming to this place.
So in answer to your question, Aden:
Is F&F a forum for those who wish to learn how to help their abused loved ones, or is it a platform for complaining about the difficulties of dealing with men who have been abused?
I would reply, 'None of the above'
Or conversely, 'All of the above'
And either of those answers does no more than reflect some personal anxiety that I currently am experiencing in regard to my status as a male survivor of sexual abuse and also as a friend and family member to other male survivors.
What is more to the point, I think, would be to ask:
What is my hope for this forum of Families & Friends?
While my good intentions may be sometimes betrayed by emotional fugues, or simply stalled out by my intellectual constipation, is simply part of that element of the equation called the human factor.
What is important is to have hope.
And I would dare to say that all who come here have some hope for affecting a positive change in their relationships with others.
So I would say that my hope for this forum, used by me and by others, is that it be a place where we can ourselves come to recover from the injury done by the sexual abuse in our lives and the lives of those we love.
It is not possible to recover 'for ' someone else. I have seen cases where people have recovered 'at' someone else--sort of like, I'll show you how easy this is! mentality.
But then it ends up not being so easy at all.
It is my opinion and my hope, that the very best thing that I can do for a victim of sexual abuse, is for me to seek my own recovery; for me to seek my own reconciliation with the terrible facts of sexual abuse, so that I will be able to be strong enough to be of service to someone else seeking to recover as I have.
I personally feel that spouses and close family members are not in any good position to 'help' their loved ones recover, except by pursuing their own path to wholeness and serenity.
While I am busy focusing on my partners dilemnas and agonizing over my friends traumas, I slowly begin to neglect my own needs and purposes. This can breed resentment and much bad feeling, even though we are 'just trying to help'.
A very dear woman, a friend of mine, says she has requested that phrase as her epitaph on her tombstone, "I was only trying to help....".
It may seem as unloving or callous to insist on our own wellbeing while others close to us are suffering so, but if we do not have any peace or serenity, what is it that we are able to give them?
As for me, once I begin to focus on my own recovery from the effects of sexual abuse, I find that I am able to be of maximum usefulness to those I love. How can that be selfish?
This subject is very important to me. For every man who is sexually abused, there are at least a dozen people in his circle who suffer as a result. Think of the parents, the children, the friends who lose the son, father, beloved companion to the many ill effects of this terrible crime of sexual abuse.
Those of us who love victims of sexual abuse deserve to recover from that damage too. We deserve to have a place where we can be heard, understood and find comfort and solace.
And if I make mistakes and complain and whine every once in a while, that's just fine too. Because if I keep doing that long enough others will get sick of hearing it and maybe love me enough to tell me to stop whining and start working on myself instead of waiting for my partner to get better so I can feel OK.
My hope is that we come here to the Families & Friends forum because
of the survivor in our lives and not for
the survivor in our lives.
This place is about our recovery from the effects of living with a man who has been sexually abused.
It takes a tremendous amount of courage to say "This sexual abuse stuff is too much for me. I need help with it!". If we're lucky we get to come here and we find that sexual abuse is too much for any of us to handle alone.
And then we find the great miracle that we do not have to be alone with it any more.
That I hope is what the F&F forum is all about.
Thanks for asking such a tough and provocative question, Aden.