This is certainly a survivor's cringing moment. Personally I used to dread one or more men paying me any attention, but I craved attention greatly, so it became a cycle of drawing near to men, then becoming overwhelmed because I was not getting the support I wanted from them or they would begin to pick on me because I was not understanding their form of humor. I was rejected so much more than I was accepted. My father was also abused, unrecovered he beat me emotionally and physically, so I figured guys who were older than I would do the same. I was told to be respectful of older ones, but the older ones were sarcastic and condescending, so it was difficult to do anything to please them. I remember once I was with some of my dad's friends and they had a flat tire, I was about 14 or 15 and rushed to take the tire off, you know, to be helpful. I could not break the nuts loose, and one of his friends pushed me aside and said "you kids think you know everything" and broke the buts loose. Later on that guys kids both had severe emotional issues, including hospitalization, paranoia and schizophrenia, his son carried a gun onto a busload of kids. I felt so sorry for that boy.

I had trouble relating to men until I became balanced in my thoughts. Recovery supported me, so I did not need to seek validation from other men. They were them and I was me. I was not angry with them when they talked about sexual things in a derogatory way, or if they tried to make me feel like I was dumb, I could walk away. One of the most empowering moments of my life was when a guy in a group told a "soft"(as if) child sexual abuse joke, and I confronted him in a calm but very firm way. I looked him in the eye before the punch line and told him that was inappropriate. I did not demand he stop, I just let him know it was not funny. He did not finish the joke and apologized. That was amazing.

What I wanted from men I really wanted to balance in myself. I was not going to have sex with them, they were not going to control me, I did not need to confide every sin I ever made with them, they are just trying to find a bunch of guys who are detached from their emotions and want to laugh about body waste and listen to stories of killing animals. I guess in a group of men I listened more to me telling me I was not worthy of being with them, that I was going to do something stupid and be embarrassed. I was scaring me out of being with those I really felt I wanted to be with. When those thoughts no longer controlled me, I found I could be with, well, almost anyone I wanted to be with, I was fine, they were fine and we good.

The bonding of men can be about connecting to a stronger, more likable guy who can fix anything, is admired by men and women and can be in any disposable shaver commercial. Let's change that by showing them how "manly" attentive, empathetic, compassionate, firm and gentle a man can truly be,

MaleSurvivor Moderator Emeritus 2012 - 2014