Maxxís story, part 1
Iíve been putting this off. Partly because I wasnít sure how to express it and partly because my abuse is relatively mild compared with some of the stories Iíve read here. Sometimes I wonder if I belong here at all. But then I look at how messed up my life has been and how many similarities it has to the other lives Iíve read about here and I think maybe I do belong after all.
The abuse I do remember clearly was by a man in my church. He wasnít a pastor, but he was a church leader of sorts. He was very active in the church, especially with the youth ministry. I donít remember exactly when it started. I was maybe 10 or 11 and it lasted about a year or so. He would give me ďmassagesĒ that would start with my back and arms and work its way down to end up with his hands in my pants. This took place in the back rooms of the church, at church retreats, even at my home. (He, of course, was a trusted family friend.)
One time at a church youth retreat, he told me and two other boys a pornographic story while we lay in our bunks and he fondled my genitals under the blankets. I was fascinated by the story (I still remember it to this day), but I withdrew in my body from his touch. I didnít resist, but I didnít get excited either. I just tried to ignore it. I found out later that he had been molesting the other two boys as well. There was another retreat later on where the other two boys were making a scene, calling him a pervert. I tried to get them to shut up. One, I couldnít stand any kind of confrontation (I still canít), but also he was my friend. He couldnít be a pervert.
At my house there were times I resisted him. I was just starting puberty and was embarrassed by my body. He would hold me down and tickle me until I let him do what he wanted. If I moved or struggled, he would tickle me. I was used to giving in.
I didnít realize it was sexual until years later. There was never any penetration, nothing oral, I never saw his privates or anything. It didnít feel too horribly bad, but it didnít feel great either. My parents were not very demonstratively affectionate, no touching, no hugging. I think in a way I wanted to feel loved. I still feel guilty about this, that I should have known better, that I should have resisted him more.
Years later, when I went to college, he was exposed. There was a scandal (it was a small town). It was in the papers and everything. He had been doing it for years, to probably dozens of children. I donít know what happened to him after that. When it all came out, my mother asked me if he had ever done anything to me and I lied and told her no. I didnít want to talk about it. In the meantime, I was falling apart. I was depressed and having panic attacks (before there was such a thing). Each quarter I hoped it would be different but each time I would stop attending classes after a few weeks. I would have to drop the courses or fail. Sometimes I could save myself by cramming towards the end, but as time went on, it just got worse. Towards the end I could barely leave my house. I was getting drunk all the time and cutting my wrist. I wanted to die, but couldnít kill myself.
I went to a therapist for a while early on, a psychology grad student. I her told about the abuse, but I didnít think it had anything to do with my problems. She told me that it might have affected me more than I thought, but I dismissed that idea. She also thought I was a closeted gay (Iím not). I was in theatre and had many gay friends, so I wasnít homophobic or anything. Men just didnít turn me on. It turned out she had recently come out the closet herself, so she I think she had her own agenda.
I finally had to drop out of college, moved out to the San Francisco area to try Primal Scream therapy. Ended up driving a cab and living in the ghettos of Oakland for seven years. Got into drugs, drank a lot when I couldnít get high, tried to numb out the pain any way I could. Would work when I was desperate for money, but hid in the house the rest of the time. Thatís still my pattern. Finally had to have my parents drive out from Ohio to ďrescueĒ me and take me home. I told my parents about the abuse on the trip back. We never talked about it again. Years later, when we had a joint therapy session, they denied that I had ever told them anything. We still never talk about it. I wonder if they forgot again.
Sorry for the long post. I just wanted to try to put it into words.
Shackled by guilt I did not create
No absolutions, no paroles or escapes.
Swallow it down, do whatever it takes to get by...