Long term effects

I noticed something quite odd the other day, and while it immediately made sense to me, I think to most people, this probably wouldn’t seem completely normal. I got to thinking about the long term effects of child abuse, especially sexual abuse, that we just don’t really think about, or that really aren’t worth spending a lot of time on, but which are a result of being a survivor, just the same.

The thing I noticed, was that while almost all of the “friends” I have listed on Twitter, and most of the blogs I read, and groups I belong to on-line are male. Yet, in real life, almost all of my friends, and the people I feel most comfortable spending time with, are female.

Now, on one-hand, my on-line life, this blog notwithstanding, surrounds working with technology and the IT industry has a higher percentage of men working in it, so that sort of makes sense that most people I interact with about that subject would be male. Similarly, I’d probably say that most of the people I interact with concerning this site are female because, in general, female survivors are more likely to seek out other survivors on-line. (Although there are a handful of guys who are “regulars” around here as well.) There just tends to be fewer people I interact with on a regular basis concerning being a survivor than I interact with about technology.

So while I can see the disparities on the websites due to the content, the question remains, why are most of my face to face friends women? I think it’s obvious that the fact that I was abused by men plays a large role in that. I’m simply more comfortable around women, I tend to feel less intimidated by women. I’m not threatened by a simple, friendly touch of a woman the way I am by a man, and I tend to allow myself to care more about a woman than I do a man. All of that is a result of surviving child abuse, there’s no question.

The only real question is whether this is something I feel the need to correct. Certainly, I’d like to learn to be more comfortable with male friends, but I also am ok with most of my friends being women as well. I don’t feel like I absolutely need to start ignoring the friends I have in order to connect with more males. My wife isn’t the jealous type, and she is comfortable with me having female friends. I enjoy their company.  The friends I have add something to my life, the on-line friends I have add something to my life. In general, I’d say that while we all could learn to be better friends, and improve our friendships with other people, I’m ok with the fact that there’s a gender disparity in my friends. It’s just part of who I am, and even though it’s a result of the abuse, it’s a result that helps me feel safe and does no real damage to me or my wife. Sometimes, I think it’s ok to leave those alone.

Technorati tags: Gender, Friendship, Childabuse, SexualAbuse

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  1. Another interesting topic. I have worked alongside a large percentage of female *colleagues* at work, but only have maybe one or two actual friends from the opposite gender around my age from school etc, the rest of my real friends are male in spite of being abused by a man and a boy respectively. Maybe seeking out other positive father figures helped me to trust again.

    I neither sought to increase the number of female friends I had nor did I run out onto the dating wilderness. I’ll want to date when I’m ready in accordance with the April 13 Entry on the blog.

    You’re right about one thing, forget about changing anything that makes you comfortable…to suit whom exactly? It should only change when you want it to or, as you intimated, adjusted slightly depending on your wife’s views.


  2. Wow! That was quite a paraphrase of what I had talked about with my T just over a month ago. Most of my friends are female indeed. The other interesting thing for me is that any male friends I have (that I meet in person) are at least 10 years older than I’m. I was worried about it recently. But it is good to see that there is at least one other like me. Thanks Mike, for the post!

  3. DoubleNine,

    You raise the age-old question though. Would I change my friendships if it made my wife unhappy? Probably, but then one of the reasons I married her is because she is comfortable and trusting when it comes to my friendships. I love that about her. So while I would be willing to make changes in any situation that makes her uncomfortable, for her to become uncomfortable, (outside of my doing something differently than I do now to cause that) would be totally out of character for her, and our relationship. So it’s not really necessary.

    Actually that whole aspect of any relationship is an interesting one. I’m often struck in observing people how they can be drawn to someone (not just romantically) because of certain characteristics, yet turn around and either fear or even expect them to do things that would be outside of the character that they were drawn to in the first place. Perhaps I’ll have more to say on that front one day, when I can offer some rational explanation for it! 🙂

  4. i am a survivor of child abuse. im only 14 years old and i have 2 siblings, a brother and a little sister.we were all abused by our mother.i was abused from the time i was born until i was two. but now i havent seen my mom sense i was two and i know this sounds stupid but i really want to see her,cause i have alot of questions i need answered.

  5. Lea, I don’t think it’s stupid at all. You were very young, and I’m sure you have plenty of questions. I don’t know that you’ll be able to get answers, or like what answers you do get, but I hope you can get some sort of resolution for yourself.

  6. Thanks for what your wrote. I have been looking for help in understanding my husband. He also works in a female dominate field and spends much of his day talking with woman. I thought this might be because of the abuse when he was a child. It makes sense to me.

  7. This is interesting, I was abused by a woman, but I think i’ve always felt more uncomfortable around men, maybe because I never had much of a father figure so never interacted with men.

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