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#363090 - 05/27/11 09:24 AM Am I an abuser?
Driftwood Offline


Registered: 05/27/11
Posts: 86
Loc: Colorado
Not sure how to ask this. I'm trying to confront something from my past. At age 13 or 14, I started exposing myself to men, sometimes propositioning them. I think I was 16 or so before I actually found older guys who wanted to have sex with me. Anyway, I feel enormous guilt and shame over this. Why did I do this at such a young age? I was always the initiator. I was never abused myself (that I can remember). I wanted attention from older men and found ways to get it, as dangerous and inappropriate as it was.
Any thoughts that might help me put this in perspective would be most welcome.


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#363113 - 05/27/11 12:37 PM Re: Am I an abuser? [Re: Driftwood]
risingagain Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/09/10
Posts: 597
Loc: Vancouver, BC, Canada
I understand it can be confusing when you feel responsible. But as a child you are not capable of responsibly consenting to sex. So whether or not you were abused, it sounds like you were looking for attention and love. That is not a crime my friend, especially for a child. Please love and forgive yourself.

smile


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#363122 - 05/27/11 02:07 PM Re: Am I an abuser? [Re: risingagain]
Driftwood Offline


Registered: 05/27/11
Posts: 86
Loc: Colorado
Thank you, risingagain. I get the forgiving part. I'm working on forgiving myself (though it's not easy). And I get the looking for attention and love, but I still have problems with the responsibility part. I was doing something that may've been harmful to others (?), and I got off doing it, and at seventeen I got arrested for it, and the courts certainly thought it was a crime. Anyway, I'm sorry to anyone I harmed, and I'm sorry that boy wasn't more heroic in finding other ways to deal with neglect, etc. I wish I could talk to someone in person, but thank you, anyone reading this, for letting me voice these things here. I appreciate it.


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#363138 - 05/27/11 07:50 PM Re: Am I an abuser? [Re: Driftwood]
Mountainous Buck Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/15/09
Posts: 1626
Loc: Minnesota
Hey driftwood-

I put the start date for responsibility at age 18-I own the bad choices I made from that point on.

Before 18, others were legally responsible for me and morally accountable for nurturing me and keeping me safe and healthy and supported.

My questions is what was going on In your youth that made this kind of behavior an option? Where were your parents? Siblings?

What had led you to look at this now? What else is goIng on in your life to bring you to this point?

_________________________
We have to take responsibility for what we're not responsible for.

ďIt doesn't matter where you've come from,
It matters where you go" Frank Turner

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#363154 - 05/27/11 10:39 PM Re: Am I an abuser? [Re: Mountainous Buck]
Driftwood Offline


Registered: 05/27/11
Posts: 86
Loc: Colorado
I've certainly made my share of bad choices after 18, but I like how you put it, that before that age others (besides being legally responsible), were morally accountable for nurturing me and keeping me safe, something that my well-intentioned parents failed miserably at. (long story there) Anyway, that was a long time ago. What led me to look at this now is a desire to like myself. On the outside I'm doing swell. But inside, I struggle constantly with guilt and shame. I drive myself relentlessly and every little screwup sends me into a tailspin. Talking here is helping, though. I'm gaining a new perspective on that desperate teenager I was. My dad came home once unexpectedly and caught me naked in our backyard (there was a horsetrail behind our house, and I waited by the chain link fence for guys to come riding past). My dad didn't say a word. Got back in his car, went back to work. We never talked about it. I thought I was too screwed up for help. But really, he should've taken the steps to get me help. I can see that, intellectually, but there seems to be a deeper place where it doesn't sink in. (?)


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#363165 - 05/28/11 01:33 AM Re: Am I an abuser? [Re: Driftwood]
risingagain Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/09/10
Posts: 597
Loc: Vancouver, BC, Canada
I would say you sound like a pretty innocent kid to me. I mean, when you're a kid unless you have a gun you can't really hurt people- there's just too much of a power difference... so forgive yourself. more likely someone hurt you-- either by neglect or by abuse.... that's your story to discover.

all the best man.


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#363203 - 05/28/11 07:43 PM Re: Am I an abuser? [Re: risingagain]
risingagain Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/09/10
Posts: 597
Loc: Vancouver, BC, Canada
A teenager having sex with an older man .... the older man is responsible. Hurting someone? I think you are still blaming yourself. It sounds like the courts didn't see your bigger picture. Why would a teenager choose to have anonymous sex with older men? What's the pattern?


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#363206 - 05/28/11 08:33 PM Re: Am I an abuser? [Re: risingagain]
Driftwood Offline


Registered: 05/27/11
Posts: 86
Loc: Colorado
I never thought of it that way, about the power difference and adults having resources that protect them. So maybe I shocked some people but didn't really harm anyone. (I hope not.) I was pretty out of control back then. I grew up in an isolated area (heavily conservative, very religious). Not sure why I targeted the men riding down the horsetrail (and sometimes guys at construction sites or driving along service roads). I found places to be naked where they would "happen" upon me. It was thrilling and dangerous, and after a while became addictive. One guy I propositioned (I'm fifteen and asking this 30 yr-old guy if I could suck his dick), threatened to beat me up. The odd thing is I was surprised by his response. What did I expect! God, it's really helping to talk about this...


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#363326 - 05/31/11 12:49 PM Re: Am I an abuser? [Re: Driftwood]
Castle Offline


Registered: 10/03/09
Posts: 733
Loc: NJ
Im not gonna get wrapped up into this thread but....

"when you're a kid unless you have a gun you can't really hurt people"

This is cerainly not true...far far from it...and I also do not belong to the group of people who feels were only responsible after we turn 18....these are both very bad messages IMO.

Just because we are 17 or less, doesnt mean we dont have to have some personal responsibility for our actions....im not talking about this case per se, but generally.

_________________________

My posts can self destruct at any time..read them while you can.

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#363341 - 05/31/11 03:11 PM Re: Am I an abuser? [Re: Castle]
aeon jiminy Offline


Registered: 03/07/11
Posts: 6
"My dad didn't say a word. Got back in his car, went back to work. We never talked about it." This seems really important to me in relation to your actions at that time.

Is this what you would do if you were the father? It seems like you were a child who was literally doing everything he could to be "seen". In the mind of the child you were, your actions are somehow logical.


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#363351 - 05/31/11 05:00 PM Re: Am I an abuser? [Re: aeon jiminy]
just me Offline


Registered: 05/27/09
Posts: 196
Hi there.

I think there is a lot of work to be done (with a therapist perhaps)about where the motivation to expose yourself came from. Just wanted to 'be seen' is probably an understatement. It is unusual to be 'out there' in this way. You sounded driven. Sexual drive and sexual acting out are not the same thing. It sounds to me like you were 'acting out' sexually, and that didn't come from nowhere.

You were a kid, and you are not responsible for the adult's reaction to your nakedness. All people are responsible for there actions when they hurt others. We would do well not to confuse a cause and an explanation. 'Acting out' may be explained by CSA but it doesn't make the one who hurts another innocent of an act that was [u]caused[/u] by outside factors beyond his control.

Hang in there,
JM

_________________________
My Story

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#363508 - 06/02/11 10:36 PM Re: Am I an abuser? [Re: Driftwood]
jevin Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/30/10
Posts: 44
Loc: somewhere on the Red Road
Originally Posted By: Driftwood
My dad came home once unexpectedly and caught me naked in our backyard (there was a horsetrail behind our house, and I waited by the chain link fence for guys to come riding past). My dad didn't say a word.

Reading this bit about you and your dad brought tears to my eyes. The only time you mention him at all in this thread concerns his inability to connect with you. You were so vulnerable at that moment, a perfect opportunity for him to reach out to you and provide a father's love and guidance. I wonder how many other chances he squandered to bond with you? Many boys experience this as rejection and come to see themselves as unworthy and unlovable. It leaves them desperately seeking recognition, warmth and affection from other adult males. In this sense you were perfectly set up to be sexually abused. The only difference between you and many other guys here is that you were so desperate for connection that you actively sought out your own abuse. How could you have possibly known at that age that what you were doing was inviting adults to hurt you?

In your 'Inherited Abuse' thread you said you are gay and grew up in a fundamentalist Christian family. In that setting I wonder what options you had, if any, to accept and express your homosexual feelings and attractions when they began to surface? I can't even begin to know what that shaming did to your sense of self.

So you had a father who wouldn't get close to you emotionally, and powerful push-back from the family's religious beliefs against your sexual orientation. This sounds like the perfect storm for a boy struggling to know and accept himself, and one that led you to some extreme measures to try to get what you needed.

The legal system and your parents both shamed you, and neither helped you get to the root of the pain that was driving your behavior. You don't have to keep repeating this with yourself. The shame you still carry, probably since years before your first desperate attempts to please a man and to feel like you were worth something, is what's preventing you from embracing yourself as worthwhile. A good resource for understanding shame and the many ways it blocks us from living is John Bradshaw's "Healing the Shame that Binds You." It helped me tremendously to begin to get some handles on why I could not love myself. Also, therapy isn't optional in your struggle to stop shaming yourself. You'll need it to come to a new and healthy understanding of your value, your needs and what you deserve.

I'm glad you found us. Keep talking. Lean into the other guys here who every day are making progress in facing the same painful feelings and confusion that you're beginning to walk through. You're not alone with this anymore.

- Jev

_________________________
"Whatever is rejected from the self appears in the world as an event."
- Carl Jung

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#363589 - 06/04/11 11:22 AM Re: Am I an abuser? [Re: jevin]
Driftwood Offline


Registered: 05/27/11
Posts: 86
Loc: Colorado
Jevin, your comments have me reeling. I keep reading this whole thread over and over. Iím not usually emotional, but I think Iíve cried more in the past few days than in the last 20 years combined. I loved my dad. I worshipped him. Did he sense I was gay, and thatís why he kept his distance? When you mention things like a fatherís love and guidance, warmth and affection, bonding, itís like Iím that little boy again and Iím bawling my eyes out. God, what would that have been like? My fatherís arm around me. I canít imagine. I so desperate wanted him.

Why couldnít he have said something to me that day? I knew there was a chance he could come home. It was rare, but he sometimes came home for lunch. I lost track of the time. Did I want to get caught? I wouldíve said no at the time, I was never so ashamed in my life, but I wonder now. Damn it! Why didnít he react? Even if heíd gotten angry and hit me, or taken me inside and whipped me, it wouldíve been better than him just driving away. I think something inside me gave up at that moment. Itís like I wasnít worth even trying to save.

Thank you guys for letting me talk about this. I never told anyone these things before. Thank you for letting me lean on you. Itís a good thing itís all online or Iíd have to wash the snot out of all your shirts.


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