Category Archives: Gay Domestic Violence

You Are In Integrity

“You are in integrity when the life you live is an authentic expression of who you are.” — Alan Cohen

 

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Integrate Healthy Sexuality Into Life

Sex is one of the nine reasons for reincarnation.  The other eight are unimportant.”  — Henry Miller

Henry Valentine Miller (December 26, 1891 –– June 7, 1980) was an American novelist and painter. He was known for breaking with existing literary forms, developing a new sort of novel made up of autobiography, social criticism, philosophical reflection, surrealist free association and mysticism, one that is distinct always about and expressive of the real-life Henry Miller, and yet is also fictional. His works of this kind are Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn and Black Spring. Henry Miller also was known to write travel memoirs and essays of literary criticism and analysis.

It is good and healthy to laugh about sex – as long as the laughter is on the side of life.  Sex, after all, is part of the life force, and if it is surrounded by caring and honesty, it leads to a joyous intensification of our relationship with others and with the world.  Then sex, like laughter, integrates.

Too often, laughing about sex betrays uneasiness, shame, disgust, and the want to hurt.  We talk about “dirty jokes” and consign sex to the bathroom.  We split off sex from other feelings and surround it with taboos and rituals and mockery.  Viewed in this way, sex isolates us.

We need to learn to talk about our sexuality in a proud and affirmative way. Talking and laughing in a group, or with a friend, or with a loved one, is one of the steps we take to bring sex into the open to take its place as part of the diversity of life.  Own your sexuality.  Talk about it without shame and claim it a vital part of life.

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The Challenges of Accepting and Loving Life

“Love is not about finding the right person, but creating a right relationship. It’s not about how much love you have in the beginning but how much love you build till the end.”

I know I’m not alone in my lingering fear of pain and the way I try to flee its onset. In the past, I would do almost anything to avoid being hurt, and I was unwilling to take risks in my emotional life. I remained in a love-less relationship for 16 1/2 years and a in a second, controlling, compulsive and impulsive relationship for nearly 11 years, then endured a 5 year abusive relationship because I didn’t want to feel the pain associated with ending those relationships.

Deep down though, I knew I was playing a dangerous game with my sanity. But at least I wasn’t making myself vulnerable, or so I thought. Life without pain I have learned is an impossibility. The same is true of love. Our loved ones may grow away from us for a while, or they may become sick, leave us or die. We cannot control life. Accepting it and loving it as it is, with everything that is unpredictable and painful about it, is one of my greatest challenges along my path of personal growth.

I can accept pain as a part of life, even as a part of my growth and health. I can accept pain when I have attained a sense of serenity in my heart. I must give up the false sense of power that results from closing myself off from pain, and, at last, I will feel fully alive.

Gay Domestic Violence “Is My Relationship Abusive?”

Relationship is What?

Relationship is What?

IS MY RELATIONSHIP ABUSIVE?

Domestic violence can be difficult to identify, especially for the person experiencing it. I am blogging about my own personal experience in an abusive relationship. For reasons I am still trying to understand, I remained in an abusive relationship for more than four years. How is it that I finally have the strength and courage now to share this part of my life? An abusive relationship clouds one’s thinking and ability to discern fact from fiction in addition to the creation of doubt, shame and blame. This is my chance for serious introspection during this time when I see my life clearly.

The abuse I experienced caused me to enter into a very introspective time during which I spent a vast number of hours researching this topic of domestic violence, specific to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered communities. I hope that within several blogs I will be able to break my personal situation down to a series that will take the reader along a path from the more general, almost research type approach I take when attempting to understand new information, to a more specific view of my own personal world.

I have come to know that people sometimes misunderstand domestic violence and think it is only physical abuse when actually, it can be emotional, financial and/or sexual abuse as well. Abusers often manipulate victims so that they feel they are to blame for the abuse. Sometimes gay abusers will try to tell their partners that “this is how it is in a gay relationship”. Abusers often promise to change their behavior, and the hope for that positive change can keep a victim from identifying the pattern of abuse in the relationship.

Am I Being Abused?

How can you determine whether you’re being abused? Every relationship is different and many relationships have rough patches with arguments and other turmoil. Though some behaviors may be hurtful, no one behavior determines whether a person is being abusive. Also, intimate partner abuse takes many forms, including physical, emotional, sexual, identity and financial abuse. Review the following list of signs of possible abuse:

Are you in a relationship with someone who:

• Keeps you from spending time with friends or family members?
• Makes you account for your time when apart from him/her?
• Is excessively jealous and possessive?
• Makes unreasonable demands for your attention?
• Blames you for all the arguments or problems in the relationship?
• Wants to make all the decisions?
• Invades your privacy – opening your mail, reading your e-mail or going through your personal belongings?
• Gets angry for no apparent reason?
• Seems like two different people – one is charming or loving, the other is mean and hurtful?
• Lies in order to confuse you?
• Criticizes, ridicules, humiliates or belittles you?
• Controls your finances or feels entitled to your financial support?
• Damages your property?
• Harasses you at work or school?
• Threatens to out you at work, to your family or to others?
• Criticizes your body and appearance?
• Prevents you from practicing safe sex?
• Forces or coerces you to have sex or hurts you during sex?
• Becomes angry if you don’t go along with his/her sexual demands?
• Blames his/her behavior on alcohol, drugs or his/her own history of abuse?
• Pressures you to use alcohol or other drugs?
• Threatens you with physical harm or makes you feel afraid?
• Pushes, shoves, grabs, punches, hits or strikes you with hands or fists?
• Threatens or assaults you with weapons, such as household objects or knives?
• Manipulates you with the constant threat of mood changes and impending rage? Has you “walking on eggs” or living with constant stress, anxiety or fear?

Get More Information

If you answered “Yes” to any of the questions above, you may want to learn more about partner abuse and take a serious look at your relationship. Start by reading and educating yourself at your local library or the Internet specific to these topics:

Definition of Domestic Violence
The Types of Abuse
The Cycle of Abuse

A very helpful book is Men Who Beat the Men Who Love Them by David Island and Patrick Letellier.

What to Expect

An abuser has two goals: one, to hold his/her partner in the relationship and two, to control his/her partner’s behavior so the partner meets the abuser’s needs. Abusers can be astonishingly devious in creating tactics to meet these goals, but there are some common maneuvers:

It’s More Than Physical

Most people think of abuse as physical but there are four other types of abuse: emotional, sexual, and financial and identity. Even if he/she’s not hitting you, he/she could be abusing you. Verbal or emotional abuse, for example, is almost always used even if physical abuse is not. Abusers can be extremely creative in the types of abuse that they use. Also, abuse usually follows a cycle with standard phases: first he/she is nice, even super nice; second, he/she starts being mildly abusive; third, there is an abuse attack; fourth, he/she is apologetic, loving and contrite. But the cycle just starts all over again and again and again.

“It’s Normal”

Abusers will try to convince their partners that their abusive behavior is “normal” or “normal for a gay (G), bisexual (B) or transgender (T) relationship”. This tactic is especially effective with people who are inexperienced in gay relationships. Abuse is not normal in any relationship, including gay relationships. Abuse has no part in a healthy relationship.

“You’re the Abuser, I’m the Victim”

Partners may defend themselves against abuse, such as physical abuse. An abuser may assert that this self-defense is abuse and that the partner is the abuser. Or the abuser may claim that the partner is “mutually abusive”.

A common characteristic of abusers is the lack of responsibility they take for their own behaviors. They may accuse their partners of being the “abuser” and they, sometimes, genuinely believe that they are the “abused” party. They may use this claim to manipulate friends, service providers and law enforcement. An abuser, for example, may seek a restraining order against his/her partner, claiming the partner is the abuser.

“You’re to Blame”

Another ploy is to blame the partner for “making” the abuser abuse. The abuser will claim that he/she would not abuse if only the partner did X or if the partner didn’t do Y. Again, the abuser is trying to shift the responsibility from him/herself to his/her partner. Unfortunately, this tactic is all too successful. Partners often assume too much responsibility not only for the abuser’s behavior but also for the relationship as a whole. The reality is that the partner can not stop the abuser from abusing.

“It’s the Stress, Drugs…”

Abusers sometimes claim that some circumstance forces them to abuse and if only the circumstance were to change, they would stop. They blame their abusive behavior on such circumstances as stress, lack of a job or the use of drugs (especially crystal meth) or alcohol. These are only excuses. There always will be some circumstance that in their minds justifies their abusive behavior.

“Promises, Promises”

Abusers commonly promise to change – to stop abusing, to stop using drugs, to stop whatever. These promises often follow an abusive incident. The goal of these promises is to win back the partner and to hold him in the relationship. The abusers may believe their own promises, but the goal of the promises is not to reform their behavior but to keep their partner. Once the partner indicates that he is staying in the relationship, the promise is forgotten.

No Legal Protection

Abusers may attempt to convince their partners that no one will help them and that they are not entitled to legal protection from abuse. There is help available.

Ending the Abuse

Experience has shown that once abuse begins it is very likely to continue and become more frequent and more severe over time. Research suggests that abusers are also very unlikely to end the relationship. Partners who are abused have two choices, either to stay and be abused or leave. Partners can and do have compelling reasons to stay in an abusive relationship. Abusers rarely end the relationship because in most cases they psychologically need the partner more than the partner needs them. They can be quite successful at hiding their dependency on the partner and their fear of losing him, and they often work to convince the partner that he would be lost without the abuser. Whether a partner stays or leaves, it is wise to have a safety plan to maximize his safety.

If any of these maneuvers sound familiar, you may want to not only get more information, but seek assistance from a resource knowledgeable about domestic violence.

What to Do

Reach out for help! There is help available!

Gay men often do not reach out for help because they believe there is no help out there for them. Services specifically for gay men are limited but they do exist. There are gay-friendly services of all types such as mental and physical health care providers, counselors, social service agencies and support groups. One way to find these resources is by contacting a local, gay social service agency. Friends and family also can be a supportive resource.

About Abusers

The most frequently reported reason why partners stay in abusive relationships is “hope for change” or their “fear of being alone.” Partners believe the abuser’s promises to get help or to change. Experience shows that once a person begins to abuse, the problem is likely to get worse. Get a perspective on your own experience. Abusers may feel guilty and apologetic after an abusive incident and promise themselves and their partner that they will change. Unfortunately, even with the best intentions, most abusers do not stop being abusive.

Domestic Violence in Gay Relationships

The World Was Mine?

Domestic Violence in Homosexual Relationships

mark-self-portrait-15.jpg

“The world was always yours; you would not take it.” — Archibald MacLeish

In October 2007, I experienced a very bad day; one that I am very ashamed of. I allowed myself into a situation with my then partner and I ended up getting hurt. I was physically attacked and beaten by my partner; I made some very wrong choices that day. It’s possible during a difficult time to become sidetracked in self-pity, anxiety, anger or fear.

Yesterday, I felt all of those feelings. It can be easier for me to fall into those feelings than to look honestly at my responsibilities at the moment. When I feel myself spiraling down, possibly into a dangerous, unhealthy situation, it’s time to ask some hard questions.

What will I choose differently today? Am I willing to take care of myself before I take care of anyone or anything else? Is there someone I can call or turn to, something I can do to stay on track with my personal growth and respect me?

I know the answers are all within me. I have infinite inner resources and potential. I have people to whom I can reach out. I have my Higher Power and I have a commitment to myself. Through the use of these tools I will find the hope and encouragement I need, just for today to keep me safe and out of harm’s way.

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Just Be Honest

 

just-be-honest 

“Just start being honest” my ex-partner was always telling me.  “It’s not that difficult Mark, just do it.”  For a large part of my adult life, I was dishonest with the people I said I loved.  My dishonesty grew as I became more involved with my addictions to crystal methamphetamine and sex.  My behaviors began to protect and hide my addictions from those I loved most: my significant love relationships, my family and my friends.  That is what I was fooling myself to believe anyway; that I was smarter than they were and that I was fooling them that I was not in fact a drug addicted, sex addicted person.  The real me was using drugs and having promiscuous sex outside the relationship, but telling them that I was a clean and sober person, committed to our monogamous relationship as we defined it.  Lies and dishonesty ruled my life.  I was smoking crystal meth in the bathroom, while my partner at the time was in the bedroom next door.  I was creating stories and drama that would seem to support or validate my excuses or reasons to be away from home.  I thought that my partner believed I was away for some legitimate reason, so that what I could really do is meet that hook up for sex behind his back. 

 

I began to not only get high from the drug, and get off on the sex, but I was also getting something out of the lies and deceptions I was creating.  I thought my partner was fooled by my tall tales and drama.  More drugs and more sex led to more lies, tales and drama creating two lives; two worlds.  I was living two separate lives; one life that was shallow and fake and filled with dishonesty and the one I wanted my partner to believe was going on opposed by the life of drugs and sex that I was in reality living.  It was when the two lives collided that everything began falling apart around me.  My partner, who I tried to fool myself to believe, was stupid and believing in my distortions and lies was actually fully aware of every mistruth of my words and my actions.  He knew all along when I was dishonest and sadly that was most of the time. 

 

When I finally became aware that I was the only one playing my game, and that I was fooling no one but myself and that I had lost everything and everyone important to me, I was at the lowest point of my entire life. Everything was gone and everything had changed.  I was lost, alone and afraid.  Confusion and delusion had ruled my life.  Everyone I loved now seemed like those scary looking clowns.  Alone, I prayed to my god, Mother Universe, and asked, “What have I done?”

 

It was only then that I could begin rebuilding my life.  Only this time, it would be a life that is real.  What I put out to the world, the person I presented myself as, would be authentic and honest.  If I said something, I wanted people to know that my word was good enough to take to the bank.  No more distortions, lies and no more drama. 

 

What a slow process this has been.  At least it seems slow going to me.  The hardest part has been getting honest with me.  It is unbelievable that I even thought of myself as a fool enough to believe my lies.  I have spent so much time becoming aware of how I wanted myself to be, versus how I was trying to fool myself I was.  I realized there was a tremendous amount of incongruity between my authentic self and the person I was really presenting myself as.  By taking small, gradual “baby steps” I am becoming comfortable in my own skin and thereby honest with myself.  Once honest with myself, I am honest with all others in my life. 

 

No one was, is or ever will be the ignorant asses I tried to convince them they were.  Not one person I had fed my lies to was stupid.  In my awareness, it hurts to see the self-doubt that my lies created in once confident and happy people.  What do I do now?  For starters, I practice forgiving myself.  To those I hurt through my dishonesty, I validate that their suspicions were correct and that they weren’t crazy, stupid or ignorant.  I apologize for the man I was and demonstrate authentic remorse for my actions.  I make amends.  Then, I only put out what is honest.  I just become honest.  It really is that simple.  I just do it. 

 

            I write this today because there is one person in my life who means so much to me that is right now at the exact point I was when I lost everything and was brought to my knees.  I have tried many times over to make it clear that I am no fool, I am not stupid and that I have been the player of his exact same game.  He seems to be holding on to the lies and distortions much tighter than I ever was.  This may not be his time for change yet.  However I am giving to him every opportunity I wasn’t given.  I want him to know that he is safe to be honest and can disclose fully his actions without fear of my reaction or retribution.  If he chooses honesty and to be his authentic self, I know we will have a long and happy life together.  If he chooses not be authentic, and continue the lies, distortions and drama, then I must begin that arduous and painful process of ending a relationship — and that breaks my heart.   Just be honest.  It’s not that hard.  Just do it.  Baby steps. 

For The Day… When You Realize You Can’t Stand Your Partner for One More Minute

This Is For The Day…

“We’re talking roots and wings; love that is magnetic enough to hold, yet magnanimous enough to allow for flight.”

~ Charles R. Swindoll ~


This is for the day when you realize you can’t stand your partner one more minute. It’s for the time when everything inside urges you to make a prompt, seemingly permanent retreat.

The statement, “No one ever said a relationship is easy” is an understatement for so many of us with the emotional baggage and set of experiences each of us holds. We must slow down and take care of ourselves during a difficult time with someone we love. We can take inventory of our thoughts and feelings. We can make a contract not to do something impulsive. We can take the relationship “Off of the bargaining table”. We can step back and view our problems with humor.

Somewhere inside each of us is love and a commitment to our partner. This love and commitment are real, no matter how exasperating, bewildering, or undeserving he or she seems to be right now. Say to yourself, “This, too, shall pass,” because believe me, it will. Ask the Universe for humility, patience, and detachment when having challenges in relationships.