Hi everyone... I just wanted to know if anyone else found themselves being "groomed" as teens or younger Adults (18+) to pave the way for adult abuse that followed.
My perp groomed me in various ways between the ages of 14 and 20 before he began his abuse. As a karate teacher he cultivated an unquestioning obedience (termed "discipline"), used lots of physical contact (hitting, immobilizing, etc), and built himself as "The Way" to obtain the reward that we were all looking for... a black belt. He would use implied or explicit violence against students who stood up to him (to make an example of them for the rest of us), but it was all just so... accepted. It's hard for me to find the words to convey what it was like. And then, a year or so before a student was due to grade for their black-belt, he would make his move. This was often 5-6 years into their training, with this one goal in mind the whole time.
I feel a lot of similarities with people who have been abused by Priests... you give them the ultimate power and authority in your life, they are the messenger for that distant and lofty achievement or reward that you strive for, and they know that it will/would be very difficult for you to abandon your quest despite the horror that they inflict on you.
While my abuse was happening, I thought that I was the only one, singled out in some way to be special (even though the guilt and shame made me shut down a lot of my emotions and rational thinking in order to survive). Once I "got out", I learned that there are several dozen others who have also been chosen to bear this shame (before, during, and after my abuse).
My perp started grooming us better and waiting until we were over the age of 18 because he suspected pending legal issues with the first batch of victims (who were under-age). I think he figured that if we were over 18, he could claim that it was consentual. He also used this logic to keep my silence during the abuse, playing our twisted situation out like it was a secret between friends. No-one needs to know, right? Thinking it was all my fault (and what the hell did that make me), who was I going to tell?
It has taken me many years to deprogram some of the psychological grooming that went into my abuse, and it is only during a recent batch of therapy that I was able to realize how much fear we all had of him. Fear that he could do ANYTHING, from blackmail and smear campaigns to physical violence... we only allowed our eyes to see the mentor that we wanted, but somewhere in our hearts we knew he wouldn't hesitate to try to destroy any of us if we stood up to him.
Sorry that this has been long and rambling, but I've been resonating (triggering is maybe a little to strong a word) with some of the posts lately (esp. Marley) and just wanted to know if anyone else has experienced this. Because I have a hard time letting go of my self-blame, guilt, and shame (even though I'm getting a little better at it) 10 years after it's stopped.