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#378441 - 12/06/11 12:51 PM Hi guys - I'm the dirty little hero
Chase Eric Offline

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 2013

Hi - I suppose it's about time I did a quick intro - this and my post about my name and avatar pretty well sums me up here in the forum until/if I post my so-called story.

I don't know really the difference between introductions and stories - a casual introduction explains little, yet a full story seems overkill. Since I often find myself repeating the essentials of myself to others, I might as well use this as an opportunity to post an abridgment for reference.

When you get to the end of this intro, I think you'll know pretty much who I am and why I am here.

In a nutshell, I was the victim of a long-term serial abuse case that my therapist characterized as "unusually intense". It was at the hands of an older next-door neighborhood kid - I was his little "side kick" and looked up to him like a big brother. When he got older he started molesting several of the 8-9 year old girls in our neighborhood, and I was one of the only boys (I was 12 when he started on me). Despite his ubiquitous interest in the little girls, his sessions with me were far more frequent. Since, as boys, we often slept together in sleeping bags in the basement or in a tent, his sessions involving me lasted much longer with less threat of interruption - often involving full consummation two or three times over the course of a single overnight. This pattern continued through my teens until I finally just "ran away" to California (from New York state) in part as a measured but desperate move to distance myself from him.

Among those who were caught in his web was my little sister. The dynamics of that went deep. I was the protector not only of her but of all the girls I was aware of. I did so by "taking the bullet", knowing he couldn't shoot them if his gun was empty. Better me than my sister, I thought. I was already tarnished - so if I was in for a penny, I guess I was in for a pound. I can't even begin to explain all the psycho-dynamics that caused me, but one of the results is that I still have a very tough time getting in touch with my anger. Seeing him molest the girls deeply disturbed me, but breaking up his sessions with them was a whispered effort - keeping all our secrets safe. I had to be very cool and manipulative with him, even though I was the greater victim of his manipulations. I was smarter than he was, but he was older and stronger. He had a tremendous urge and relentless whining insistence I was ill-equipped to reject. Yet I knew that if I obliged, my sister and her friends wouldn't have to. At least, that is, until the next day. And the next. And the next. But my perspectives were, of course, those of a child and - not surprisingly - rather myopic.

Anger? It never seemed appropriate. I didn't understand what sex was when this started - although I knew instinctively that it was wrong - and I was too busy keeping a level head to spare my sister. I couldn't afford to indulge in the indignation the parents in the neighborhood showed once they found out. Had they been as calculating as I, perhaps this guy would have been TREATED AND MANAGED instead of threatened with punishment (as if that would resolve the issue). To this day, I rarely get angry about anything. I tend to be very even-tempered. Frustrated? Yes. Anger, however, has almost always proven itself to me as a useless self-indulgence. How Spockian. I shrink from angry people and tend not to trust them or their judgement.

Our abuser was caught when one of the girls had nightmares one night and told her mom. The mother's husband was out of town on a business conference, so she approached my father, who was a medical doctor. My dad in turn assembled a committee of two other fathers and they met in closed session with our abuser. They came very close to handing this over to the police. But their final decision was to keep it quiet and circumvent what would have likely been a difficult trial for the kids and a harsh sentence for him. Years later, those fathers since gone, I discovered they apparently never knew I was a victim - nor my sister. There were so many of us but they never looked hard enough, or perhaps they could never have imagined the scope of the abuse. If they had, perhaps they would have taken this further. There's more - much more - and maybe some day I'll share my full story, but the fact remains I was essentially thrown back into the lion's den to save the girls. I was perplexed as to why they insisted that I "help him through this and keep him from the girls," because at the time I thought they were aware I was a victim as well. I was 13 at that point, and while the girls were spared, my abuse was to get a whole lot more secretive, frequent and intense.

It felt to me as if the whole neighborhood was in collusion with my continuing molestations - that everybody was keeping my secret. My dreams gave that away. I remember vividly a recurring nightmare in which my parents - and other adults - were standing in line behind my molester, waiting for their turn. Of course I never experienced incest or even the hint of that. But my shame was pretty intense. I would wake up and avoid my parents. I began not trusting my friends with respecting my boundaries. Anyone who got too close to me was suspect, smiles has ulterior motives, and anyone who found me attractive was by definition sick and dirty (a simple inverse of how I saw myself?). I started wearing baggy clothes before baggy was in style just to hide the curves of my body.

Many speak of child sexual abuse and the loss of trust. To me, that "big brother" friend certainly lost my trust. No surprise there. But then I started not trusting my friends, even my family. My dubiety grew like a cancer - extending to relatives, teachers, anyone else - and robbing me of healthier relationships. But the biggest loss of trust was with myself. My body was responding to the abuse in ways I didn't want, despite mustering every ounce of my will. It vexed my conscience and impugned my sense of integrity, and I judged myself harshly. I accepted that my abuser just couldn't help himself - and even though he was the more guilty party, I expected far more from myself than from him. Eventually I just ran away from it all with all the naivety of believing I actually could. Just like the biblical Jonah, I found I could run to the ends of the earth, but in the process never distance even an inch from myself.

But I tried. In California, three thousand miles from home, I attempted to reboot my life and bury the boy I was. I thought I might be gay but wasn't sure. I would fall in love equally with girls or guys. Anonymity made me bold enough to explore. My first "coming out" experience was at the local bar. The bartender bought me my drinks, and the last one he put on the bar right at closing - inviting me to stay and finish it while he locked up. I was nervous, but excited in my new-found autonomy - self-possessed and finally holding the reins of my own life. But it didn't happen that way - not that night. I wasn't looking for what happened - I was only looking for a friendship to build upon - maybe more if it felt right. Apparently that wasn't how the game was played. His disarming smile disappeared when the door was locked. I tried to slow things down. But "wait" meant absolutely nothing to him. "No" meant even less. I left the bar far wiser than when I went in. I convinced myself it was just a "bad date," that I somehow deserved it for tempting him (something my "big brother" abuser would often make me believe), that I didn't know how to play the "gay game" right. It was my decision to accept his pass - my decision to accept the drinks he bought me. And it was my decision to stay. So - like my CSA - I owned the problem because I set myself up for it.

In both cases, I knew who the "bad guy" was. But so what? Both were beyond hope, anyways. Neither could ever be "good," and even if they could, it was not within my power to change that. But I sure as hell expected more of ME. In the bar that night - just like those nights in the tent, in the basement, and in the woods only a few short years earlier, I judged myself as if I could have salvaged my integrity, my honor - perhaps as a wish that I had some control over my destiny with these men. But my thinking was - hey - what else do I deserve for being a despicable little gay boy? Despite the violence of it all, I simply could not see it for what it was (the "R" word). The same-sex taboo condemned me before I could even launch from the starting blocks, and there was no finish line of justice or help to run towards. In both cases, I internalized the crimes and the definition those crimes ascribed to me. They became secrets, floating pieces of filthy memory I tried to lock down, re-define, hide, forget. And so it took me years to see through the lies I told myself, and past the spin to which I ascribed those memories - to understand how my victimization with one abuser set me up so perfectly for another. Actually, it took more than just time to realize that. It took a single defining event in my adult life ... and a really good therapist named Marc to whom I am eternally grateful. If you are reading this, Marc - you might just remember me...

When I went through therapy ten years ago, I was so full of self-delusional constructs that I didn't even see that what happened to me as a child was molestation. The past was so deeply tucked away and "forgotten." I went for grief therapy on the advice of a friend after my father's sudden death. I was inconsolable for months and could not understand why. When my therapist took me for a walk down the dirty trail into my past, I figured I'd play his stupid game and then we'd finally talk about what I was really there for. But those sessions opened my eyes to everything I had closed them to. I was a prepubescent boy submitting to receptive anal intercourse with a fully pubescent "man" 3 years older than me under the threat that he'd molest my sister if I said no! And when I said yes, he'd molest her anyways. But - hey - that was MY fault, right? It's amazing how much I managed to kid myself for so long. Unlearning those lies I told myself was an adventure into my soul that was as dark as it was fascinating. It wasn't an easy journey, and I was a skeptical and reluctant patient. It was embarrassing, awful stuff to dredge through - in large part because I owned every sin. It was a true trail of tears, a hard look in the mirror for the first time in my life. It took me down such a deep hole - and at the bottom was waiting a kid I dismissed and packed away with all the other memories. A kid I called dirty. A kid I wouldn't look at. A sweet little kid who quietly allowed me to dump upon him all the blame, all the sins and secrets, and shut the door, to leave him in the dark past forever, all but amputating him from my past. A kid who was abused once by his molester, and again by me. A kid I had the incredible fortune to return to and to embrace once again.

So who is Eirik today? I am an educated professional, in the middle of my life (admittedly an assumption) and generally happy and functional. I am also wounded, dysfunctional and still coming to terms with who I am. A lot was stolen from me. I'll never know the man I might have been had my CSA not occurred - but I suspect my life would be very different. I am still learning to rebuild myself. And that little boy I dismissed and tried so hard to forget? He is the best part of me. You'll likely see him here often - occasionally in my avatar or my signature - smiling despite what was happening. He had an amazing bounce and effervescence. His dad called him a super ball - the harder he hit, the higher he'd bounce. He did the best he could - a prepubescent 75 pound kid holding everyone's secrets, trying his best to spare for the others what he endured, navigating X-rated problems that confounded even the adults, problems he didn't understand and felt he could take to no one, carrying all the tools and perspectives of a small kid who didn't even know what sex was about when it started. A kid who was stronger than I - as an adult - could ever hope to be. This place is for him as much as it is for me.

The price I paid? Here's just one. My dad told me when I was still a young teenager that despite getting on my tail about being irresponsible and immature, "You're a real good boy and I'm awfully proud of you." A real good boy? Proud? He obviously had no idea of the subterranean filth flowing at his feet. And I certainly wasn't about to disabuse him of his flawed perspectives. I took that compliment like a hungry dog snatching a forbidden pork chop from the dinner table - and hid forever. He gave me a compliment, yet I felt I stole it, greedily keeping it until that day when I was pure enough to earn it - that day I could step proudly into his regard. But that day never came. I kept him at arm's length to preserve his delusions of me - and then I suddenly lost him forever. His last words to me were these (and yes - I can quote them precisely): I never knew you like I wanted to - you are such a private person. But I know you love me.

That's what was stolen from me. Think about that when the news media - or when the loud indignant crowds that have no real clue of the damage of CSA - focus on sex as the biggest S in child sexual abuse. Really? Well, I got through the sex. But the other S's - secrets and shame - have followed me almost forever, and have never stopped. Because while sex is a theft of the body, secrets and shame steal the soul. I internalized my abuser's sins, accepted my shame and guarded his secrets with all the conviction that I would die if they were revealed. And in so doing I dutifully continued to abuse myself years after he stopped.

One of the events that brought me here to MaleSurvivor was an email from a girl just a few years ago - completely out of the blue - who thanked me for being her "hero" all those years ago. I had walked in on her and my perp, and told her to get out just as he was starting to undress her. And the funny thing is - I barely remembered it. There were so many. But I can pretty much guarantee I took the bullet. She was spared. And she now has a beautiful family. She told me that if I didn't step in and rescue her, that family of hers may have never existed. I don't have a family. But I'm the dirty little hero.


Note: I added a picture at the top of the post that perhaps bears some explanation. In recently going through the house I grew up in, I came across my old sleeping bag. When I opened it, the smell and feel of it, the patterns of duck hunting that kept quiet about what they saw, the soft flannel that told me seductive lies of comfort as it held me for him - all took me back. The snapshots I placed upon the flannel are pretty much as we were back then. I'm not sure I trust myself with such pseudo-artsy expression, but my desire to compose this seemed limbic in its truths, something that was right to say, and another killer of secrets. My entire journey has been about LOOKING at it, and that is what this image means. Averting my eyes has done nothing good for me.

Note 2: I recently edited this introduction by adding in some of the shifting perspectives I have developed since being here. This is a huge share for me, and putting it up here on a public forum accessible to all sometimes feels like scaling a cliff wall and making the mistake of glancing down. But the biggest truth in my healing has been to tell, to reveal - so opposite what my life has been about that it felt intrinsically counter-intuitive. It means a realization that the damage was not so much about the sex, but about the secrets. The very act of revealing is by definition most strongly propelled by the deep conviction that it was not my fault.

Click my pic to see why I'm here.

#378444 - 12/06/11 01:31 PM Re: Hi guys - I'm the dirty little hero [Re: Chase Eric]
Chet Offline

Registered: 11/09/11
Posts: 16
Loc: Kingsport, TN
Aww, Eric the Brave, (my new viking name for you!)

You are NOT dirty. What you did saved many people from the molester, if only for that day. You were used by him & the neighborhood parents. You did nothing wrong, my friend. I am honored to know you.

Think of our idea of soldier heros. They may be used by their country's leaders to go & fight in senseless wars & have to do things there that they are not proud of. But that doesn't detract from them individually as heros. You are the same in my eyes.


#378485 - 12/06/11 07:05 PM Re: Hi guys - I'm the dirty little hero [Re: Chet]
traveler Offline

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3774
Loc: somewhere in Africa
C E - I consider you not only "not dirty" and a "hero" - but a BIG man, at that. You did the only thing you knew to do at the time, and you are doing what you need to do now. My hat's off to you and I salute you for your courage and honesty. (I also identify with your instinct toward truthfulness. My user name is de>
We are often troubled, but not crushed;
sometimes in doubt, but never in despair;
there are many enemies, but we are never without a friend;
and though badly hurt at times, we are not destroyed.
- Paul, II Cor 4:8-9

#378525 - 12/07/11 12:45 AM Re: Hi guys - I'm the dirty little hero [Re: traveler]
whome Offline

Registered: 05/07/11
Posts: 1736
Loc: Johannesburg South Africa
HI Chase Eric

Thanks for having the courage to share your story with us. It is something we can all identify with, the threats the secrecy, the violence and the confusion.
I see that you have been on MS for a while now, and I am glad that we are seeing more posts from you, this is a good sign and shows that you are beginning to heal.
I trust that you will post your full life story for us sometime soon. Writing mine, although through the healing process more has come out, Was an incredibly liberating experience for me, and really changed the way that I related to me.
I hope that writing yours will do the same for you.
I look forward to reading more of your posts and your insightful replies to others question.
As a wise man on this site said, "the more I talk about this the easier it gets"

It works If you work it, so work it your worth it.

Heal well

Matrix Men South Africa
Survivors Supporting Each other
Matrix Men Blog

#378528 - 12/07/11 01:01 AM Re: Hi guys - I'm the dirty little hero [Re: whome]
Still Offline

Registered: 02/16/07
Posts: 7011
Loc: FEMA Region 1
OMG Eric...O.M.G!

I'm not one to sprinkle sunshine and glitter all around anyone here. Sorry if disturbing stuff bothers me dude...but your self-proclamation as the "Dirty Hero" is WAY wrong, and it hurts to see you do that to yourself.

I consider it an honor to know you here. You are a clear thinker and the most talented word-smith I know. U'm always anxious (in a good way) to read your take on things here.

#378530 - 12/07/11 01:20 AM Re: Hi guys - I'm the dirty little hero [Re: Still]
TheTwoOfUs Offline

Registered: 11/03/11
Posts: 149
Loc: USA

I don't normally post on Intros. But this one I needed to post.

Everyone does what they feel they must. Some go above and beyond what they are required to do, by whatever code of ethics and morals they might possess. Others still go far beyond even that level.

I don't know if it will mean much, but the acts you think of yourself as dirty for, are in a much more vivid manner than any Hollywood "hero" - truthfully selfless. They show your true heart, bro, and your strength. It takes a hell of a person to knowingly put himself in line for something like this to protect others.

I at least do not see you as "dirty" - I see you as a selfless, strong, and loving individual with a passion for goodness. Nothing less could have allowed you to do what you did, nothing less could have allowed you to survive. And "taking the bullet" as you say, probably saved a LOT of children from suffering from the same heartache you so obviously carry.

If I could, I would have tried to protect the "hero" myself. I wasn't there, I couldn't do it, but I understand somewhat the taking of a bullet.. regardless of what form that bullet is in.

Don't discredit yourself, don't degrade yourself in that manner. Heal, recover, one foot in front of the other, and maybe someday, I hope you can look in a mirror and be proud of the fact that you, in "taking the bullet", prevented OTHERS from taking the same bullet.

This is a long post from me, on a subject that on one hand I can identify with, and on the other hand I probably have no right to speak on, but I had to speak up on this one.

I don't see you as dirty. I see you as bleeding... wounded. All true heroes ARE wounded, if only because in order to be a "hero" they have to care so deeply. But there's a lot of folks around here ready and waiting with the bandages to stop the bleeding, and I think if you keep at it, you might find you carry a lot of those bandages yourself.

This is a long enough post, and I've probably made a fool of myself in it, so I'll end it here. But one day I hope you can look at yourself and see what everyone here sees.

Courage, strength, and caring, bro. You have all of them.

Edited by TheTwoOfUs (12/07/11 01:22 AM)

Adapt. Overcome. Survive.

#378549 - 12/07/11 09:02 AM Re: Hi guys - I'm the dirty little hero [Re: TheTwoOfUs]
Mountainous Buck Offline

Registered: 12/15/09
Posts: 1626
Loc: Minnesota

U r neither dirty nor little.

But u r a hero.

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

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

#378556 - 12/07/11 10:12 AM Re: Hi guys - I'm the dirty little hero [Re: Mountainous Buck]
ozzie_guy Offline

Registered: 11/02/11
Posts: 17
Loc: Queensland, Australia
Eric.... I can't begin to tell you how honoured I am to have had the opportunity to get to know you my friend. Your courage, your insight, your understanding, your compassion and your strength are all so special to me. To me mate there is nothing dirty about you, although you are a true hero....

I am so glad that you have taken this step and shared some of your pain with us for in the sharing begins the healing. I love you as a brother and will be here for you any time you need me....

Stay strong....

I wonder what a life will be like being able to cope with the horrors of my memories.

Why am I so terrified of the possibility of being happy...

#378561 - 12/07/11 11:38 AM Re: Hi guys - I'm the dirty little hero [Re: ozzie_guy]
Disappointed Offline

Registered: 08/11/09
Posts: 540
Loc: U.S.A.
Chase Eric,

You're a good man. You were a good, generous boy. Thank you.

I wish you the recovery you deserve so richly,


#378613 - 12/07/11 09:32 PM Re: Hi guys - I'm the dirty little hero [Re: Disappointed]
R1977 Offline

Registered: 11/21/11
Posts: 3
Loc: Texas
Chase Eric,

All of the complimentary things that could be said about your character were addressed in the previous posts.

What you wrote is devastatingly tragic but in a strange way hopeful. Reading through some of these stories can char humanity: to know that there are people content to inflict such depravity on others is haunting but you are so decent and good.

Don’t view yourself in such a diminutive way, your selflessness is awe-inspiring.


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