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#445923 - 08/30/13 12:28 AM It Really Wasn't What I Had Thought (Triggers)
Dave PNW Offline


Registered: 04/03/13
Posts: 111
Loc: Pacific Northwest
It Really Wasn't What I Thought (Possible Triggers)

Sorry, another long Dave post.

I am starting to realize something about my abuser and about myself. The neighbor boy who abused me when I was 12-14, I have also thought of him as my closest childhood friend. I know, it is a paradox. There were a lot of positive things we shared as kids and I have enshrined those memories as though they were talismans against the reality of what else really happened. That, as well as to mitigate for the life I had at home. I have come recently to accept that the three most important relationships in my first 14 years of life all had elements of abuse. My parents - physical and emotional abuse. My neighbor - sexual abuse. No wonder I had a hard time with relationships and trust and wanted to isolate myself later on. It's truly a wonder that I ever found good and supportive love later in life.

But it is the sexual abuse from my neighbor that I have struggled with the most. I have often thought that he really cared for me. I sort of told myself I had to believe that. I have thought that maybe I even loved him, not romantically, but close like a brother. I just didn't have any unconditional and supportive relationships until my mid-twenties to compare this against.

Maybe it was the post and thread where many of you used one word to describe your abuser ..... manipulative and coercive, non caring, selfish. Or a recent PM where a friend described being abused by someone who had seemed like he really cared for him and how he felt special ....until after the abuse and he realized it wasn't real. Somehow this new reality is settling in. What we choose to call things matters a lot.

Somehow after all these years I am just now starting to face reality. On the surface it looked like friendship, but there was this dark and abusive side to it all. In the beginning he knew I was uncomfortable with his sexual advances, even said no, but he used manipulation and coercion to get what he wanted over and over. I knew when it started that this had somehow become a new condition of our friendship. After the first time I sensed he had this power over me, he toyed with me by threatening to expose my secret to other kids. When he had aroused me and I wanted his attention he sometimes called me a fag and a homo. He had a way of making me feel dirty and ashamed all the while he was initiating and teaching me this stuff. I gave in to his demands, so I felt like I deserved it. Sometimes he would hurt me. After two summers he just discarded me like I was one of the rags we used to clean up with. And later on he told the other boys anyway what I had done for him.

This should have been obvious. But somehow it wasn't. I just can't pair this reality up with my belief that a lot of the best parts of my childhood were also spent with him.
I guess I confused proximity with companionship. Confused caring for the feeling of a warm body. Confused being dominated and humiliated with intimacy. Confused getting an erection with consent. Confused feeling good with really wanting it. Confused being accepted with just being there to give him what he wanted. Confused the uncontrollable waves that shook my body with being guilty. I confused being used with true friendship.

I am not a dumb guy. Really I am not. But somehow I just didn't want to remember these parts. Somehow I missed this. Somehow I didn't think that the boy I was deserved anything better. This is all so hard to admit and to accept .... if this relationship was so warped and damaged, then a big part of my childhood was damaged as well. I have tried so hard to make this be something it wasn't. I really have. I guess I was just like the other boys I know he did this to as well. I wasn't special, other than the fact I gave him what he wanted for the longest time.

What does that make me? I have come to understand the boy I was. I understand how lonely and needy and passive and compliant he was. I don't fault him anymore for that. I think I understand how I got that way. But I am struggling with knowing how lonely and on my own I really was. No one noticed.

After my abuse stopped the summer I turned 14, I didn't pass on or act out on other kids. What my neighbor had learned from adults and passed to me .... ended there. I absorbed it. Later as a father, I didn't pass on the emotional or physical abuse from my parents. I was able to stop that cycle from continuing as well. I absorbed that too. I can be proud of that. But now as a grown man I am facing the brutal truth that the one connection I thought I had that made my life at home bearable, was with my neighbor, my abuser, my molester. That is really hard to confess. I have a lot of work ahead.

I have a good relationship with my wife and some casual friends at the office. But I have lost touch with so many people over the years. Tonight I feel just a bit more alone in the world. Its like I just lost a piece of me, I guess it wasn't there anyway. And I guess I am sad. This shouldn't even matter after all these years, but it does and I don't know why exactly. Not sure if any of this makes sense to anyone out there. I feel like a fool. I just needed to let it out. Take care. Peace. Dave in the PNW.

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#445938 - 08/30/13 08:39 AM Re: It Really Wasn't What I Had Thought (Triggers) [Re: Dave PNW]
Rich1967 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/17/13
Posts: 270
Loc: PA
Dave,

You are NO FOOL and you are NOT ALONE anymore! What you wrote really touched me.

What does it make you? It makes you are normal person who as a kid wanted to be loved and nurtured and had that used against him. The boy back then did what he needed to do to survive. He made the best out of the awful situation he was in. He needed to be loved and so that's what he saw. You know now that's not what it was and that's a good thing - albeit painful.

I felt so alone too and unable to make connections with other guys. I was able to marry and have 4 kids, but I find now that I need more. I need to make connections with my fellow brothers. I don't want to be afraid of them any longer. I need someone who can understand what I'm going through and my wife can't be that person. I love her and will happily spend the rest of my life with her, but I have room for more than just her now.

Dave - you are NOT ALONE. You don't have to be alone anymore. It's not easy, but you can go make connections that will fill the void that is there now.
_________________________
Rich

"Me too" - I don't think I will ever get tired of saying or hearing these two words.

My Story:
http://www.malesurvivor.org/board/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=441625#Post441625

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#445941 - 08/30/13 09:28 AM Re: It Really Wasn't What I Had Thought (Triggers) [Re: Dave PNW]
Suwanee Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/30/12
Posts: 691
Loc: Southeast USA
Dave,

This is another great post. You articulate the nuances of this stuff very well. It shows a lot of careful thought and hard work...and progress. I'm continually amazed at the thematic paradox of "loss is gain" that so many of us encounter.

Rich..that was a great reply. You and Dave both have made quite a few valuable insights for the rest of us.

Will
_________________________
Cruel Summer
My Journal

-Signs and traces left in stone
Ruins of a past unknown-

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#445952 - 08/30/13 11:38 AM Re: It Really Wasn't What I Had Thought (Triggers) [Re: Dave PNW]
concerned_husky Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/29/12
Posts: 585
Dave,

Thank you so much for this post. I can't imagine how hard it must be for you right now to shed yourself of the idealized image you had of your abuse and childhood. I'd venture to say, it does make sense to me. From my experience, idealizations are a lot like a huge psychological dam that keeps negative feelings/emotions/thoughts from the days of abuse at bay; in other words, it was another way of coping. We try to find something - anything - that will downplay the devastating effects of the relationship so that we can spare ourselves from feeling them on an emotional level. I suspect that in your courage to face the truth about the nature of the abuse and your relationship with your abuser, this dam has crumbled - and perhaps now you are feeling less shielded from the onslaught of the past. Like you eloquently put it, "like I just lost a piece of me. I guess it wasn't there anyway."

Your abuse was different from mine, but so much of what you wrote has resonated with me. I'm lucky to be able to read it. It would be stupid to quote things that really got to me because all of it got to me. The confusion. 'Feeling special'. Having had no other relationships to compare with. And the word you used to describe the breaking of the cycle: 'absorbed'. Damn, what a powerful word - and it captures things so utterly well, that one word.

Thank you again for sharing your thoughts and feelings here.
_________________________
Husky

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#445953 - 08/30/13 11:39 AM Re: It Really Wasn't What I Had Thought (Triggers) [Re: Dave PNW]
SoccerStar Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 915
Loc: New York
Dave,

The recognition that what felt like a friendship (albeit an exploitative one) was actually nothing of the kind is a real gut-check moment. In a way it can make the memories worse; it removes the slight veneer of normalcy around the abuse, removes all the decades-old rationalizations. It literally adds insult to injury.

You are very brave to be able to do it.


I was sexually exploited and degraded by someone who I considered a true and valued and needed friend. There was no actual genital contact - instead I had to do stuff in his presence as he watched - but I was never more than two words away from any sex act he could possibly have wanted, I know that now. I had no choice, throughout the years of vulnerability to bullying I couldn't see any alternatives except anything and everything that would have kept him happy. And.... when he was happy I was safe, which made ME happy, and so I honestly have a lot of good memories with him. He worked at a movie theater and would sneak me in for free and I got to watch all kinds of funny movies with him and to some extent I still remember some of that.... fondly. We were the same age, he is all over my Bar Mitzvah party video, and we both look happy together.

I am trying to learn the same lesson you did and have it "stick." Consciously it's obvious; on a lower, more basic level it still sort of feels like when I was a kid.



Matt
_________________________
My story

"Don't think it hasn't been a little slice of heaven just because it hasn't!" --Bugs Bunny

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#445958 - 08/30/13 12:02 PM Re: It Really Wasn't What I Had Thought (Triggers) [Re: Dave PNW]
DavoSwim Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/06/13
Posts: 315
Loc: Iowa, USA
Dave,

You have expressed what so many of us have experienced- what we thought was real, was merely a fabrication in our minds created so that we could make it through the horror we experienced

It is so painful to hear you describe how you were basically thrown to the wolves by your parents, left vulnerable to attack by your neighbor, put in a situation where you had to endure abuse so that you could make your home life bearable. I'm glad that you have overcome such an upbringing and have provided a much better home for your family.

I understand feeling alone. Please though, don't confuse being alone with loneliness. Much self discovery can be achieved when we don't have to deal with the clutter that happens in crowds. I hope the clarity you have achieved can be applied to the relationships you have with those closest to you. May they be real and honest and provide you with even better memories than the ones you have from your childhood.

Dave

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#445980 - 08/30/13 05:15 PM Re: It Really Wasn't What I Had Thought (Triggers) [Re: Dave PNW]
Onesimus75 Offline


Registered: 08/22/13
Posts: 158
Loc: Minnesota
***Triggers***
Here's where I've gotten to regarding my one really close friend, perp 3.

It's sort of tangled.

I can accept that as a victim of abuse, he himself had been set up to think that sexual exploitation was love and intimacy. Damaged and programmed by what was done to him, he acted out on me in hours-long date rape. Confusion was brutal. He was one of my best friends. I loved him.
No. I love him still.
And I'm free to love him because I know that he was wrong. I am vocal and open about the hurt and the wounds he inflicted. I would never and will never let him hurt me or anyone else like that again.
I'm angry about the stuff I have to live with.
But I had to accept that 3 wasn't trying to destroy me. He ended up helping to destroy me like a drowning man pushing someone else underwater, trying to survive himself.
I hate his actions. I hate what was done to him.
I love him.

We live over a thousand miles away, and I don't think that I'll ever have a (only, ever non-sexual) relationship with him again. But I go in the same hour from hating a flashback, guilt from a sexual imprint, etc, to praying he's ok.
OK being defined as never doing that again!!! and that he's found out how to be a survivor himself.

Accepting that I can feel both, without hating myself for it, gives me a lot of peace.
_________________________
We are not defined by our faults, or our wounds, but by the truth within us, which nothing can take away.

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#445995 - 08/30/13 07:51 PM Re: It Really Wasn't What I Had Thought (Triggers) [Re: Dave PNW]
Dave PNW Offline


Registered: 04/03/13
Posts: 111
Loc: Pacific Northwest

Thanks guys. I really appreciate the support and kindness. I just finished my water workout for the day. I took the day off and swam a 5 k open water in my training lake. Calm and cloudy and no wind. The surface was like glass and I really flew this morning. My injured shoulder has healed and it is good to swim again without that pain. I carried your words in my head out there today and felt comforted and good. Not so alone right now. Thanks

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#446022 - 08/30/13 11:06 PM Re: It Really Wasn't What I Had Thought (Triggers) [Re: Dave PNW]
Rich1967 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/17/13
Posts: 270
Loc: PA
Dave - ANYTIME. Glad you are feeling better.
_________________________
Rich

"Me too" - I don't think I will ever get tired of saying or hearing these two words.

My Story:
http://www.malesurvivor.org/board/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=441625#Post441625

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#446069 - 08/31/13 05:00 PM Re: It Really Wasn't What I Had Thought (Triggers) [Re: Dave PNW]
BraveFalcon Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/25/13
Posts: 1090
Loc: The ATL

Hi Dave. This is an excellent post and an excellent thread. You have an incredible clarity for seeing and sorting out how and why things happened and for seeing the end result of how it all affected you. I know that didn't happen overnight though. It takes a lot of walking through pain and internal chaos to get to that point. It sounds to me like your recent realizations about your abuser is even another big step in that direction. I understand how much that realization hurts and I know you feel like you lost a piece of yourself along with the realization but if you did loose a piece of yourself then it was a piece that was based on a lie. It was a piece of yourself that was put there by an injury, much like a physical scar. I think losing that piece, as much as it may hurt at first, has got to be a key to moving forward, if that makes any sense.

Originally Posted By: dw1972+

After my abuse stopped the summer I turned 14, I didn't pass on or act out on other kids. What my neighbor had learned from adults and passed to me .... ended there. I absorbed it. Later as a father, I didn't pass on the emotional or physical abuse from my parents. I was able to stop that cycle from continuing as well. I absorbed that too. I can be proud of that.


Yes, you can be proud of that. Anyone who can say that should be proud of it. I'm glad you've come this far and have managed to break the cycle that you were subject to. I hope you are well. Peace,

Ken

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