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#44522 - 05/10/05 09:14 AM Telling my father
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
As all newcomers here, I am finding this difficult to write. I was abused for three years between the ages of 11 and 14 by a trusted adult and friend of my family who helped out with our Boy Scout troop, and I was extremely traumatized by it. This guy was cruel beyond imagining and had every trick in the book. I blamed myself, though I did not understand what I could have done that placed a “help yourself” sign on me, and as there was no discussion of this issue in those days (early 1960s) I was convinced that I was utterly alone and that no one would believe me even if I dared to tell such an incredible tale. Finally the abuse began to involve physical injury as his appetite increased, and I became desperate enough to tell another Scout leader. My abuser quietly withdrew from Scout activities and that was the end of it, or so I thought.

In later years I coped by convincing myself that in fact nothing had happened, and of course that just led to further problems. One area that was affected was my relationship with my father. He was and even today is completely devoted to me and my siblings, and I love him very much. But I think that in my teens and 20s one way I coped with memories of my abuse was, in a way, to blame him. How that could be rationalized is beyond me, but I think that is how I had it figured. It was cruel and unfair, of course, as he had nothing to do with it and never knew what happened. I am thinking I should apologize for being remote and uncaring when he had done so much for me, but that would mean explaining why I was like that. I would like him to know that there were genuine issues troubling me.

The problem is that he is now 80 years old. If I tell him he will be extremely distressed. He will believe me, of that I am sure, but he will blame himself for not protecting me. Telling him might help me but I cannot see how it will help him. Perhaps what I owe him is peace and serenity in his last years, and not involvement in my own trauma.

The spirit of caring and concern that I see here encourages me to put this on the discussion forum. If any of you have any thoughts I would be very grateful for them.

Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#44523 - 05/10/05 10:05 AM Re: Telling my father
sophiesdad Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/30/05
Posts: 462
Loc: Florida
Roadrunner:
You've come to the right place for support and being able to sort out your thoughts and feelings. I don't give advice to people, but I do suggest what I would do if it were me in that situation:
Sometimes we can say important things without sharing the entire subject. I would approach it with something like, "Dad, I know that for a period of time when I was younger I was very distant from you. I was going through a difficult time and like most teenagers, I became distant from you. I hope you can forgive me and understand. It's been bothering me for years. I love you very much."

OR, you can choose not to say anything. I assume that your relationship is wonderful with your dad now and I think that's what's the most important. You're making good use of the time you have left with your dad. I think it's a balance between what is best for you and being kind to him in his "golden years." I think that the situation would call for a different reaction if he HAD known about the abuse and chose to not believe you or not to take any action. Then, I think that there would be merit in disclosing the full story. I'll give you an example:
I was abused, not only by an uncle at age 8, but subjected to emotional incest with my mother. My dad was absent most of the time working and when he WAS home, he was emotionally unavailable.
For a long time I was very angry at him for "abandoning me" in my time of need and leaving me at the hands of my mother. I wrote and told him so in a letter because it was of paramount importance to me that 1) he knew what I was going through and 2) that he wasn't there to protect me and the consequences it brought to my life. Fortunately, we made peace when he wrote me a letter saying that he was SO sorry for not being there for me and the many regrets that he had with regards to mistakes he made with raising me. He asked for my forgiveness and he got it 100%. I'm so glad that it happened that way before he died. My mother died not speaking to me for 8 years (by her own choice).
So, in conclusion, I would suggest that you decide which is more important in your recovery. Is the situation with your dad more important, or is it dealing with the rage and hurt that your abuser caused?
To reassure you, there is NOTHING that you did to deserve this life-altering experience. Predators have their own criteria for choosing the children they abuse. Most times it has nothing to do with sex... just like rape, it is dominance and overpowering another human being. Unfortunately, children are an easy target because they are innocent and trusting of these giant gods who shape their world.
I would encourage you to keep coming back here as it is a safe place to deal with many issues. You may also want to read some books on the subject. "Victims no Longer" by Mike Lew is an excellent book.
Above all, be gentle with yourself. We tend to beat ourselves up and experience lots of confusion and guilt because of our feelings.
I hope that my thoughts and suggestions are helpful.

Sophiesdad

_________________________
There are no unresolved issues - they just didn't resolve themselves the way we would have liked. "Grinder and Bandler - Neuro-Linguistic Programming"

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#44525 - 05/10/05 07:43 PM Re: Telling my father
reality2k4 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 6838
Loc: Stuck between water, air, and ...
Larry, perps are very clever at what they do, and yeah, they have pretty good radar for seeking out boys who are hurt.
I cannot understand why the scoutmaster never reported him, to at least your folks, but that is only for you to know, it is just that he would have carried on with other boys if not stopped.
Your dad, did a natural thing by protecting his injured child, and I am glad he was so nurturing.
Convincing yourself it never happened, yeah, I think a load of us did that one, and it is not the best way of dealing with this crap.
You say that you blamed your father, maybe it was because he was a man, or maybe this is just a symptom of the silence you kept.
I know your dad is old, and only you know, if he will be strong enough to take it onboard.
Wow, it is real hard to keep it silent for so long, and it is tough to reveal it after so many years.
I always think, that it is harder not to tell, than to tell, because it does give you a real sense of empowerment,

ste

_________________________
Whoever stole the Sun, put it back and we'll drop all the charges!

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#44526 - 05/10/05 08:19 PM Re: Telling my father
healing_inside Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/28/05
Posts: 2005
Hi,

Saw your post this morning and I throguht about it at work and decided to post.

My dad is 75 yrs old. I was afraid of the same thing, with one twist though. let me back up for a second. The first person I told about CSA was my heart DR. My dad and I share the same DR. The Dr told me to never tell my dad because of his heart condition and the stress could kill him. What added stress. I see my dad a lot and he could tell something was wrong and he was worried about me.

I broke down and told him in Dec and guess what he took it real hard, and no he didn't have a heart attack and is doing fine. Actually, we do a lot more stuff together, going to car shows etc... and he is so supportive.

I told him what the Dr said, and he was it hurt him more by me holding it inside then telling him

Things to ponder.

-jim

_________________________
I can't come to the phone right now, I am out living my life

*** WoR Retreat Alumni - Alta 2005 ***

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#44527 - 05/11/05 05:08 PM Re: Telling my father
Muldoon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/30/02
Posts: 1428
Loc: St Paul MN
Your dad may have been told but he wasn't given any tools to help you heal. He didn't know what to do so he did nolthing.

We where told to just forget it, move on, buck up and be a real man. There was no one helping us, no T to talk to. We had no choice but to hid in the silence.


Quote:
Telling him might help me but I cannot see how it will help him. Perhaps what I owe him is peace and serenity in his last years, and not involvement in my own trauma.
I found out too late that my dad's was troubled in his last years with the fact he could not had done more to protect me and my brother from the parish priest.
If only I could have talk to him about this maybe it would of made a difference in his and mine life.

Some time when men share there pain they both grow stonger, they become closer and enjoy life together.
I didn't have my molment ,don't lose your's,
.Tom

_________________________
Teach the Children to Never Hide in the Silence

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#44528 - 05/11/05 06:49 PM Re: Telling my father
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
A bit of further information relating to my post on this thread: I am sure my father does not know. It really would have come up in conversation somehow.

On my abuser, I can understand why nothing was done. Had he been reported there would have been a scandal and every boy's parents would have pulled him out of Scouts, which was the main activity for us in those days - all the boys belonged. The leader I told was absolutely furious at my abuser and very supportive of me. He never doubted me and told me several times he would help me tell my father if I wanted to do so.

The real problem was that I was convinced that this was happening to no one but me, and my abuser had a million lies to keep me quiet. If you are 11, ashamed and frightened, and think you are alone with such a terrible secret, then I think it just comes naturally to conclude it was your fault. Your abuser has filled your heart with poison anyway, and all the bad feelings you develop about yourself encourage you to reach this conclusion.

I entirely understand Charlie's comments on this on another thread, by the way. He is wrong, of course. It was never his fault. But his willingness to seriously consider that it was, with that I can immediately empathize.

Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#44529 - 05/11/05 07:28 PM Re: Telling my father
reality2k4 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 6838
Loc: Stuck between water, air, and ...
Larry, yeah, it is sad that an 11yo has to go through all of that, and I know just how hard it is on a boy his age, because it happened to me at 10yo. It must have been really hurtful to keep the silence from your dad. Is it really surprising though, that every boy who is abused blames himself, when he finds his whole life is run by the effects of it, I don't think so.
When he finds that he has nobody to turn to, and this massive weight is on his shoulders at such a young age, then he has no option but to blame himself.
My dad knew all along, but that in itself creates further issues of denial, lack of understanding, and parents being overprotective, to name just a few issues.
I know you want to tell your dad before he dies, and I hope it brings you both closer,

take care,

ste

_________________________
Whoever stole the Sun, put it back and we'll drop all the charges!

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#44530 - 05/11/05 10:11 PM Re: Telling my father
FLRich Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/21/04
Posts: 1404
Larry,

While reading oyur post, one thing grabbed my eyes.

Quote:
Telling him might help me but I cannot see how it will help him.
That, alone, is what keeps me from ever telling my parents of my abuse to this day. I am bitter to a degree towards both of them. I never told them then (8-12 yrs old & 16 yrs old), because I had a damn good idea of how they would handle things, and I wasn't ready or willing to have to jump thru those hoops on top of the abuse I had survived thru.

Now, at my age, I can see no good in telling them. I am still not willing to subject myself to their reactions. I think it would be worse for me than it is now. My Mom would cry everytime she saw me for the rest of my life and constantly be asking if I was all right. My Dad would pace for 3-4 days, offer to pay for therapy, try to his death to get names and "track 'em down", have something done to them, and then never mention it or give me direct eye contact again as long as he lived. I'm not ready for either. In my case silence is golden!

I'm NOT saying that is right for you. Your Dad sounds super. Mine was never abusive, just never had much time for me and I still don't know him well enough now after 48 yrs.

Someone at this site told me once, not long ago, that we tend to feel with our hearts more than others. Go with your heart, Larry.


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#44531 - 05/19/05 12:01 PM Re: Telling my father
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
First I want to thank everyone who responded to my original posting here. You can't imagine how helpful and encouraging you have been, even though your views have differed.

In case it is of interest, I would like to say that I have decided to tell my father what happened. Various people helped me to see that this is what I need to do: in one comment someone pointed out that he had lost his moment and that I should not lose mine; another, from one of our incredibly wise young friends, asked me What? Your Dad doesn't get bad news anymore just because he's 80?

The difficulty is that I no longer live in the USA and of course I cannot tell him something like this on the telephone. But I am hoping that the next time I see him I will still have the courage and resolve I feel now.

Thanks again! I do want to say I really appreciate everything everyone has said. I got all points of view and that was important for me to reach a decision that I feel is right for my particular case.

Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#44532 - 05/19/05 09:50 PM Re: Telling my father
rom2057 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/21/05
Posts: 7
Larry,
I hope you do keep the courage and resolve you feel now. I think a Dad who cares for and loves his son will always wish he could have done more to protect him but at the same time takes pride in seeing that his son made it through against all odds. If the love is there and he knows you are becoming whole, then that will out-weigh everything else.
In a way, in my own family, I think my father's pride in the steps I have made in recovery and in being open about his brother abusing me and my brothers is helping my father to begin to protect himself from the destructive parts of our family. He still can't talk about himself, but he is starting in small ways get out of that mess. And in a strange (to me) reversal, I take pride in thinking that I can help him where he could not help me. Sorry if I sound vague.
I hope you get an opportunity soon to talk to your Dad ---- Even a phone call might be better than completely missing out.

Jim s.


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