*** May be triggering ***
I read a post by a member of the MS community who questioned the validity of his personal experiences, as submitted to this forum. How severely do you have to have been treated, and for how long, in order to feel you have a story to tell here? I have to admit I've been struggling with that question. I've read a number of personal accounts here that break my heart. What you gentlemen have endured makes you my heroes and my experiences with sexual victimization do not begin to touch some of that. I have learned over time though, and especially since visiting MS, how profoundly even a single event can affect someone.
In my case, I let go of any shame I felt about 15 years ago during six months of counseling. I sought counseling on the advice of a friend because I (and others I knew) were suffering from emotional and psychological abuse meted out by our employer. Over the course of my therapy I dredged up a barge-load of unhappy stuff from my childhood which helped to explain how I could allow my bosses to victimize me to the point where I felt useless as a human being. I learned a lot about telling myself the truth about my worth as a person, and about how the whole victim/victimizer game is played. I worked through this by sharing a lot of my secrets with a skilled and loving therapist. However, I was never able to tell her about the CSA.
I worked through the guilt issues afterward, on my own. Today I'm reasonably sure I don't have any lingering shame about what happened to me. I know I was just a vulnerable kid who was exploited for someone else's pleasure. I have other issues though and there's no one in my family or circle of acquaintances that I can talk to. I've made attempts, but the discomfort it causes them leave me feeling like a freak. It's too difficult for them and there are realities that might be too painful, especially for my wife. I've had a tendency from time to time to reveal very personal, sometimes painful things to friends in an effort to bring them closer to me. Generally my efforts to achieve that level of connection have ended in disaster.
I hate to call myself a victim because for several years now I've tried to become the owner of my destiny. To me that means accepting responsibility for my life, not for what others have done to me, but for how I deal with it. It's the 10%, 90% concept. I really believe it, but it's not always so easy to achieve. I realized a long time ago that I wasn't whole the day I finished counseling. I'm always going to be working on it. I'll use the word victim here for lack of a better term, and because it describes my role in the past.
CSA is one component of my history of victimization, along with the bullying I experienced at the hands of my brother and others for many years. In terms of relative impact on me, I'm sure the lines are all blurred. I guess I could say that my introduction to sex came at an early age, long before I was able to understand what I was witnessing. I grew up in a small town full of bored kids who early on let their curiosity led them to some wild places. I remember being at a secluded gathering of several boys and one girl where my older brother and this girl took it upon themselves to show the young kids how the deed is done. I was six, maybe seven. I couldn't really process it and the older boys ushered me out of the "party" with their laughter following me. There were other opportunities to get a glimpse of some pretty wild stuff. I didn't really know what was going on, only that this was stuff you didn't tell your parents about.
I was easily duped or manipulated as a kid. It was partly because I was always the odd man out among my peers. I became sort of needy. Sometimes I didn't see what was coming. Sometimes I just went along with things so I wouldn't be rejected by the gang. It doesn't take predators long to sort people like me out. My first sexual contact came with my cousin, who convinced me to give him oral sex in the bathroom at my parents' house with my mother napping maybe 20 feet away. I haven't seen him in years, always avoided him at family gatherings, but I clearly remember his voice coaxing me softly that day, and the sight of his red pubic hair. I was still very young and holy shit did it take balls for him to do that with my mother sleeping in the next room.
As my brother and I grew a bit older he began to feel the need to assert his dominance over me. He did this by knocking me around on a daily basis, and on occasion kicking the shit out of me. My parents did what they could, but he decided very early on he was not afraid of them, so their threats and attempts at discipline were useless. I know my father loved me but I have reason to believe he couldn't quite muster the same respect for me that he had for my brother, who was more like him. For various reasons I developed a hatred for my father that I couldn't reconcile for many years. I pretty much had to go it alone against my brother. Eventually I figured out that if I just stood up to him and laughed no matter how much he hurt me, that he would stop. The power dynamic changed dramatically the day I made that discovery, but that was years later. I had no regard for all the school- yard cock fighting, pissing matches and all that nonsense, so I never really toughened up. I had poor eyesight and lousy coordination so of course I sucked at sports. As far as the bullies were concerned, I had a big ol' target painted on my back.
Somehow during all of this my brother's best friend "Jay" seemed to reach out to me. I don't remember him being especially cruel to me but he had always had a good laugh with the others now and then at my expense. Now he seemed to take an interest in my plight. I was not yet a teenager and on occasions when my brother would kick the tar out of me, his house became a haven for me. He would listen to my complaints, offer his sympathy and some diversion or other to take my mind off things. We began to spend more time together, playing electronic football and hockey, fighting battles with toy soldiers and that sort of thing. We would do creative things like staging puppet shows for his parents. It was a good time and really nice for someone who was older and stronger to offer me his friendship.
The games we played began to change though. One day Jay suggested we play "hospital". It sounds ridiculous to say that but it was the game of choice. I was typically the doctor and I would examine his body for injuries, then perform an "operation" to help my patient. At first his belly would be the focus of my efforts, but then of course it became his penis and testicles. At first I was instructed to work on him with my hands but eventually he coaxed me into taking him in my mouth. He told me if I tasted anything funny I could spit it out. 30-plus years later I still remember the distinct taste of his semen. It was bitter and I didn't like it. As I sit here now writing this I find myself asking how I could have kept doing this? I thought I was done with that question. After a while we dispensed with the game altogether and he just let me know when it was time to play with his dick. He would play the 70's pop tune "Afternoon Delight" to sort of set the mood. I guess it was "our song", and was very suggestive. I don't hear that song often these days, but it really takes me back when I do. It gives me a sort of sick feeling in my stomach.
Jay was never violent with me. The closest he ever came was one afternoon when he said he needed to show me something in his dad's garage. Once inside he closed the door. He asked me to sit on the floor and close my eyes (stupid boy!). Before I knew it he had me pinned on my back. He shoved his penis in my face and with a big shit-eating grin on his face he said "Suck!" I really didn't want to that time.
The last time I remember being with Jay he asked me to lie down on my stomach on his living room floor. He wanted to try something new. He smeared a good quantity of petroleum jelly on his penis and promised he'd take it slow. But Jay was really big. When he began to push inside me I was sure there was no way he'd get all the way in there. I developed acute appendicitis when I was twelve and maybe that hurt more, but I'm not sure. I asked him to stop. I didn't want to. He said we'd rest a while. We waited and then he started again and oh my God it hurt. I could barely stand when he finished, but his mom was going to be home soon from work so I had to get out of there. Walking home was painful. For a long, long time after that using the bathroom or masturbating were painful experiences, since ejaculatory spasms travel through and contract the rectal muscles. The pain did eventually fade away, but when I had my college entry physical my doctor noticed rectal scarring. Little revelations.
My cousin and Jay weren't the only ones. My brother's friend Billy had an older brother who needed my assistance one night and then there was Jay's neighbor "Tommy", who was actually my age. With him perhaps it was more of an equal meeting of partners in sexual exploration and he was a bit more "giving." However, he was mostly content to just lay back and have me pleasure him. The others just used me like they would a sex toy. There was no "let's show him how good this feels." Perhaps it's a petty point and a little odd. Maybe I was really dense because no one had seduced me with my own pleasure and I still let them do it to me. I don't ever remember having a single erection until I was with Tommy. I remember how Tom always smelled so clean, like he had just stepped out of the shower. I guess if someone is going to shove his dick in your mouth it ought to be nice and clean, eh? The smell of a basic bar of soap really takes me back too.
The last incident I remember was when a boy I knew, but hardly palled around with showed up at my house one winter day wanting to hang out. I said "sure" and we climbed into my treehouse. We weren't there long when he nervously suggested that if I sucked him he'd suck me. I didn't go for it and we never hung out again. I've begun to suspect just recently that my name and rep had gotten around the neighborhood. A few others had made the attempt at securing my services. I guess I'm a little slow on the uptake. Only 8-11 years old or so and already a reputable cocksucker. Guess I should have hung out a shingle.
What bothers me most is not that I'm ashamed. I've dealt with that, though I still feel society wants to hold people like me at length like freaks. Even if people are truly sympathetic they don't know what to do with us. What I'm dealing with now is a certain amount of anger at having been used, especially by one older boy who zeroed in on me at a time when I was particularly vulnerable. I realized recently that his approach was systematic (big surprise!) and once he had reached his "crowning achievement" or maybe felt he'd gone too far, that was the end of it between us. Things got much worse for me during my teenage years. I really could have used a real friend. I slipped further down the social totem pole. I wasn't at the bottom of it, but close enough and the other "components" of my abuse intensified. Various people made it their purpose to make my life a hell of humiliation and pain. I just didn't have the skills to defend myself against verbal and physical attacks. By then I was rarely able to make eye contact with others and I must have had "vulnerable" written all over me.
To be fair I did have some academic and creative personal achievements and I wasn't a complete outcast. I had friends, some of them girls, who apparently saw me as something more than a weak, pathetic boy. One beautiful, smart girl even said she'd go with me to the prom when my friends told her I'd like to go with her. I told her basically "thanks for being so charitable, but it's not necessary." I didn't have enough self-worth to accept that she might actually want to go with me. That pattern was typical. The Jr./Sr. high experience left me at one time borderline suicidal. I just got to a point where I was fascinated with the notion, didn't fear death and wondered what it would feel like. I became a prisoner in my own house, seldom going out unless it was absolutely necessary. I dabbled in the occult for a while, partly as a diversion, partly to try to deal with my feelings of powerlessness. I wrote a lot and my poetry and journaling became a daily eruption of rage, self-loathing, hatred and fear. I got through it all though. I'm still here.
Now I deal with social phobias....don't like to sit next to people on the bus, don't assert myself well when needed, have difficulty meeting new people. I don't loathe myself anymore, and I'm not completely paralyzed by those fears, but I often just can't gather the strength to overcome them. I go to ridiculous lengths to avoid social interactions that intimidate me.
The other thing that weighs on me is a lingering question about my sexuality. During my teen years I began to have same-sex fantasies and dreams, though I identified myself as heterosexual. I developed massive crushes for 2 male friends in high school and college. At first I was really disturbed by this, asking myself "the question" so many of us ask ourselves. I didn't really have a problem with fantasizing about women. Yet I became more fixated on men as an object of desire. Through a long process of soul searching I have now become more comfortable with where I might be on the sexual spectrum. I'm okay with it, at least privately. However, it has caused me and mine pain. 15 years ago I began to explore my feelings in as "safe" a way as I could, via internet chatrooms. That led to an online relationship with another man that almost ruined my marriage. My wife offered forgiveness that I didn't feel I deserved and she learned a lot of uncomfortable truths about me. She still doesn't know all of it. That would be too much.
That leaves me alone with who I am, unable to express or experience myself fully. It's frustrating, so I'm sly about it. I take little chances with friends, letting little comments slip, wondering what they'll think. I am who I am. But why am I? Is my ambiguous sexual nature what I was born with, or is it the imprinting of those who used me? What I do know is I have an unfulfilled longing. What I crave the most is a real, deep bond with another male, be it friendship or whatever. I've never been able to share my history or the inner me with anyone, particularly anyone who would understand. My parents are long gone and my siblings do not know of my history with CSA, and that it was our cousin who "initiated" me in that regard.
All these years later from time to time I stumble across the most amazing revelations. Some are painful, some liberating. I wish I could have shared them with the little boy I once was.
Edited by pufferfish (12/14/11 12:23 PM)
Edit Reason: minor editing by a mod at user request