I joined this group about 4 months ago. This is my first post. I came here to learn how people move on, how to move through to the other side. I started talking to a therapist for the first time in my life a year ago. I was making a lot of progress in my recovery. I have completely forgiven myself and absolved myself of any falsely perceived complicity in my abuse. But I am at an impasse. So Iím making my first post. I am looking for some answers.
I am not military, the pow moniker comes from my love of skiing in the ďpowĒ, the ďpowderĒ where I can lose my mind on the mountain. But it also is pow, like being punched in the face pow. And in some respects, pow like a prisoner of the war I waged on myself for too long. All respect to true powís ,they are heroes.
My abuser was a priest, my religion teacher, and the high school wrestling coach. When I was a freshman I had heard rumors about him. That he was very cool with kids in school and that he even let some of them drink with him. I couldnít believe it the first time I heard that. It was the 1980ís and even then, underage drinking would never be permitted, especially with a teacher. In my 14 year old brain, I thought he must be such a cool guy to reach out to younger boys like that. But I never had the courage to introduce myself. I would see him at the football games and in the school sparring with boys, throwing headlocks around them, seemingly innocent hugs. I wanted that kind of attention, I wanted some guidance and I needed some mentorship.
I never had a conversation with him but at one school dance, just after my 15th birthday, I saw him standing in the back of the dance hall, in the shadows. I saw him talking to one of my friends and I mustered up the courage to say hello. I canít remember the things he said, but I remember I was trying to put my best foot forward. And it worked. Within 10 minutes of conversation he invited me to his office. I feel so stupid looking back at this moment now, but then, in the moment, I was really happy and excited. As we walked by my classrooms I felt like a big shot to be with this man, I was beaming inside really. I was expecting to have conversation and maybe if he trusted me enough to be in his ďcircleĒ, maybe I would even have a drink with him.
After talking awhile in his office, he stood up and said, ďCome here, give me a hugĒ. I had seen him do this with boys around the school and I thought nothing of it. Frankly, when he embraced me I thought I had made a new friend, a friend with stature, influence, wisdom, and even a direct line to God. I was happy.
But the hug lasted longer than I expected. The next thing I knew he was kissing the right side of my neck. My internal alarms started to sound but I froze. He kissed across my face and within seconds his tongue was in my mouth. I did not like it. His breath smelled, he had a mustache in my face. Every god damned bell and whistle was going off in my head, my guts were twisting and my ears were ringing. It happened so fast. I couldnít rationalize what the hell was going on. I went from being happy to be with this man, to realizing something very different than what I expected was going to happen. Unless of course, I ran away. But I didnít. I thought it was a test. I instantly wondered if the other boys he ďdrankĒ with went through this initiation. I thought he was testing the boundaries of how much he could trust me. My desire to be liked by this man, to be trusted by him, to be in his circle, was stronger than the alarms going off in my head.
I chose to stay. And that moment, that decision to stay, and not run out of the room TORTURED me for decades. I beat the shit out of myself for decades for staying. Staying there sealed my complicity in the ordeal. It led to my self abuse, being stoned in school, taking pills, any pills, drinking to oblivion, suicidal ideation, bitterness, etc, you all know that part of our story. I am not sure how I made it out.
I wonít go into the details of what happened in the 3 hours that I was in that room with him. But I will say that he undressed me within minutes and he was a sadistic individual. Unfortunately one the things I pride myself on is being tough, rarely complaining, a high endurance threshold. He was the wrestling coach, supposedly and ex-New York cop and at that age I was worried about him thinking I was a whimp. So I donít know what to say about that. I donít know if when he was hurting me and I wasnít responding to the pain because I was trying to be tough, if that got him off more, or less. But when I just couldnít take it anymore, like I thought I was going to incur lasting and visual physical damage, I would ask him to stop. And he would ask me to verbalize the experience. And he would say how sorry he was for doing it. And he would stop for a few minutes, but sure as hell, heíd get right back at it. I had to ask him to stop doing that over and over throughout the night. Sometimes I find myself crying when I think about how I was trying to be so tough that night.
As the night went on I was scared being with him. My ride home had long left the dance. By the time he was done with me the whole school was empty, even the band had packed up and left, and I was alone with him. It was eerie being in the school so late at night, where I hung out with my friends, studied my subjects. I looked down the dark halls. It was a different place now. I had committed a grave sin. I was no longer an innocent. I had crossed over into a different realm. I didnít feel like a student any longer. Lots of things were going through my mind. I was going to have to numb myself from then on. I would need a lot of distractions to get through.
He had to give me a ride home, a twenty mile drive out into the countryside. It was past midnight and on the way home he didnít say much of anything. The silence was deafening. About half way home he slowed down, way down. He pulled over in a swamp and I was scared beyond measure because it seemed such an unusual place to stop. I was afraid he wanted more sex and I was scared and tired and I just wanted to go home. I looked at him to see what the hell he had in mind. He was staring at me without human expression. It was a death stare that lasted 5 or 10 minutes. I was collapsing inside from fear. I looked out the windows of his big 4x4 to see where I could run but there was swamp on both sides of the road. It was a cold winter night. I was still 10 miles away from home. Getting out of the car didnít seem safe; staying in the car didnít seem safe. His expression was that of a psychopath. I honestly thought, and I still wonder, if he was thinking about killing me and dumping me in the swamp.
When I recall that time in the swamp, I have always seen it in my mind as a witness from outside of the car looking in. In front of the car to the passenger side with the headlights on and I see a scared boy staring out the window, the blue glow of the instrument panel lights faintly illuminating his frightened face and I want to help him. I know the psych community has a name for that. I will attest that it is real.
I went through some intense therapy for PTSD a few months ago. I didnít know I had PTSD. But I was referred out by my primary analyst to this guy who was a specialist in this area. It helped me tremendously. I had suppressed the memory of the physical abuse part and it came up in the therapy. I was crushingly sad to remember it. In my adolescent mind I had always equated the sexual abuse as a misguided display of affection. As misguided as it was, at least it was on the spectrum of affection. Remembering the physical abuse part though, it didnít fit anywhere on the affection spectrum. I had to re-engineer the whole event in my mind. It was so hard to do, but it worked. At the beginning of that treatment I had to go on meds for the first time in my life. That was a major concession for me. I always thought I was tougher than that. I have learned that allowing myself some weaknesses has been a good thing.
My perp is in prison serving a 40 year sentence. His trail of terrorizing boys didnít stop with me of course. Some years later, and who knows how many victims later, he was accused of raping two boys. 40 years is a long time, and from the reading Iíve done on him, and from my experience with him, he was a mean, sick man. I read a pysch report on him once that said his homosexual urges were tied to violence.
I really wish I would have been brave enough to tell someone when this happened to me. I wonder how much pain he inflicted on boys after me. Some boys I know at my school that had contact with him didnít make it. I struggle with that. I donít think any of these boyís parents know. I only just told my own parents four weeks ago. What a mistake. My mom asked me why nobody heard me screaming for help at the dance. My shoulders sank. Why didnít I scream for help? I shouldnít have told them.
Over my lifetime, Iíve channeled a lot of this anxiety and mental anguish into a series of goals and challenges to get me to stop hating myself. It created a hyper drive to succeed. Itís amazing what you can get done when you think achieving goals and accomplishments will extinguish the hate inside. Combine that with an unhealthy sense of competitiveness, a burning desire to be perfect and ambivalence towards death, you can get a lot of things done. But the junk still stays inside you, no matter how many crowns you win.
The truth is, Iíve made great strides in my recovery. I didnít think, or even imagine, I would get this far. I am determined to achieve a full recovery. I think Iím close. In my mind the finish line has always been to face him in jail. I want to look him in the eye and not cower in fear like I did when I was 15 years old. That god damned death stare he gave me in the swamp to intimidate the hell out of me. His sadistic nature. He knew his stare scared the hell out of kids. One of his victims wrote a book about it. He mentions the stare a bunch of times in the book. I canít even tell you how fucking scary it was, it was a stare that said ďIím going to do really bad things to you right nowĒ.
He told me that God wanted us to give each other pleasure. I despise that word pleasure. Every time I hear it I see him telling me that God wanted me to give him pleasure. I hate typing that word.
The department of corrections has him in some kind of protection program so that his identity is hidden from the other inmates and from the public. They wonít let me see him. They wonít let anyone see him. Iíve been stuck here for months. I am trying to find a substitute finish line. I am trying to learn a lesson of not being able to do accomplish all that I set out to do. I am trying to accept the humility that countless other victims have endured. I am trying to pretend that knowing I wouldnít be afraid of seeing him is enough, but itís not. None of it is working for me. I know I should be grateful for coming as far as I have. That I got so close to the finish line but just canít finish. But the god damned demons are swirling around with their convincing whispers of failure.