My first childhood memory involves abuse of some kind. I was at a “nursery school” run out of a woman’s house. One day she was serving chicken soup for lunch and I refused to eat it…so she physically shoved the spoon down my throat until I threw up. From that point forward, I had to eat in the bathroom with my plate on top of the toilet seat, in case I throw up again. I remember that bathroom with the white tile floor and black toilet seat. Legend has it that my sister called the woman a “whore” and when she called my father to complain he replied “how does she know you so well?” I am not sure whether that part is true but it made me feel (somewhat) better.
Of course, that pales in comparison to what was to follow...years of sexual abuse by my mother. I can’t remember my exact age but I would estimate it at between 6-8 years old….probably longer.
The abuse always happened in the same place, a carpeted area in the living room. My mother even had a nickname for this spot. She also had a nickname for my penis, a silly made up word that I have only been able to say out loud four times in over six years of therapy. The last time was quite therapeutic though…I felt quite empowered and I stopped doing one of my compulsive behaviours.
Back to the abuse…it always started out as “play wrestling” but it ended up in her masturbating me or performing oral sex on me. This has led to years of compulsive masturbation and reliance on massage parlours etc. where I can passively receive sexual gratification. Thankfully I was “spared” having to return any sexual favours (at least that I can remember)...who knows what that would have done to me…all my problems with sex are bad enough as is.
Of course, the sexual abuse was part of a “package” of abuse with emotional and physical abuse to follow. I can remember dodging many flying slippers in my day. The worst was when my mother used to choke me. I have developed quite the phobia of people touching my neck. I grew up always wearing shirts with the top button done up to protect my neck. I later graduated to neckties (I have quite the collection). It used to take me hours to get to sleep, as I had to keep adjusting my head so that my neck was neither too restricted nor too exposed (unprotected). I still tremble inside when doctors examine me and touch my neck. One time I was in bed with a girl and for some crazy fucking reason she jokingly said “I’m gonna kill you” and motioned as if she was going to strangle me…I whacked her arms away with such force that I nearly broke both of them. We cried a lot as I explained my uncontrollable actions.
One abuse incident in particular did far more damage than the worst physical abuse that my mother could dish out…and that was the time that I “initiated” the abuse. My mother once gave me a lesson in how my penis works…it felt good…so one day I pulled down my pants and asked her to repeat the lesson, thinking I was so clever and she would never know that I wanted the pleasure rather than the “medical” lesson. This single incident was the most catastrophic as it embedded in my mind once and for all that my pleasure should be associated with guilt and that I don’t deserve to happy. How much I hated myself because of it.
In terms of emotional abuse, it’s not so much that my mother would put me down, rather that she could enter into fits of rage, yelling and cursing at everything and everyone. Her emotional abuse was actually to be kind, to offset the physical and sexual abuse (although the sexual abuse was also presented as “play”).
One thing that I learned in therapy is how much the abuse damaged my relationship with my father. I loved my father (he passed away many years ago) and I never even considered that part of the equation in all my years of self-analysis. The worst part is that I felt that his wife was “cheating on him” with me, and that as the “other man” I was hurting my father…more guilt. I can’t recall my mother ever telling me not to tell anyone about the “play wrestling”…but then again, she didn’t need to.
I first told someone about my abuse at age 19 but I did not start therapy until age 31. I have been doing that for over 6 years. Two months ago I attended a Weekend of Recovery and things have REALLY opened up for me. I am now in weekly groups, I am in constant contact with other malesurvivors, I started journaling, I read lots of books, participate on the forums, etc. I have noticed a dramatic change in the last few months and the shame is pretty much gone.
My biggest single problem remains relationships. I have never really had one. I keep repeating the same patterns of falling for the same types of girls (often survivors themselves, often already in a relationship with another man, etc.)
I often wonder if I will ever really recover. I realize that I have come far (especially in the last few months) but I am still not where I want to be. I suppose that I will consider myself successful once I am in a healthy relationship. I wonder if that day will ever come.
WoR Alumni - Mysthaven Nov 7-9, 2008; Advanced WoR - Alta Sept 11-13, 2009, Mike Lew Victims No Longer Workshop 2010, Malesurvivor International Conference 2010