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#447232 - 09/14/13 09:16 PM I've been waiting since 1987 for this.
DavoSwim Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/06/13
Posts: 315
Loc: Iowa, USA
Last evening, I had an experience Iíve been waiting for since 1987. Iím still reeling from it, trying to understand its significance. Itís going to reframe how I view my past and it will influence how I act in the future. It may change my life forever by changing the trajectory of my future.
Last night, my brother came into town on the eve of the big intrastate football game between the two major state universities. He stayed the night with my parents and my mom invited me over for dinner and drinks after I got off work. It was only in April that I told my story to my family, and this is the first time since then that the four of us have been together.
To understand the events of the evening, I need to explain my relationship with my brother. Heís the first born, and Iím the second, only 10 months behind him. (My dad was apparently really, really horny) He was the star. Iíve lived in his shadow my whole life. My dad would always introduce me as No 2 son. Teachers always would always comment that Iím nothing like my brother. He was the star football player. He spent two years in med school before becoming a priest. When he was in med school, all I heard was how he is so smart and I must be so proud of him. Now that heís a priest, he has God on his side, and nothing can beat that. Competition with him defined our relationship and I always seemed to end up on the losing end. I ended up a CSA victim, and he didnít. That cemented in my mind that he was the good kid and I was the bad kid, because there was no other reason in my mind to explain why he escaped such a fate, and I fell victim multiple times. In my mind, Iím sure heís headed to heaven, and me to hell. After all, with my history of CSA, ASA, SSA, acting out and random encounters with strange men, I never thought I was worthy of making it to heaven.
The definitive event between my brother and me happened in 1987. It had just hit the newspapers that Fr Bob (my first abuser) had been arrested for molesting young boys at several locations where he had served as a priest. It shocked the people in my parish, and many could not believe that such a nice priest could do such a thing. My mom asked me if Fr Bob had ever tried anything with me. I didnít have the strength to say yes, so I lied and said no. She even said she hoped the accusations werenít true. Of course, I knew they were. At the time, my brother was a seminarian and he made the comment that he needed to go out and visit Fr Bob and offer his support. I couldnít f***** * believe it. My brother was going to support this piece of s***. That was the end of our relationship. For 26 years, our relationship has been strained. I can barely stand to be in the same room with him. Iíve only tolerated his presence for the sake of my parents. Nevertheless, Iíve always wanted us to be close again, but I was losing hope it would ever happen.
After some wine and cocktails, the conversations turned to me. This really was a good opportunity for me. I could clear up a lot of personal issues, but also, I could question him as a priest, a representative of the church. He had a lot of questions, as to why two brothers who usually served mass together could end up with different fates. As we talked more, it was apparent the differences in how we saw Fr. Bob, and how he treated us. I said I really admired him, for Fr Bob was my favorite priest. My brother said he liked him, but he wasnít his favorite. I asked if Fr Bob ever joked around about wanting to de-pants him, like he did with me or if he showed him playboys or said he could teach him to masturbate. The answer was always no. It was really obvious how deliberate Fr Bobís grooming was and how he set out to separate me from my brother and wear down my defenses before going in for the kill. What I thought was positive attention was grooming me for abuse. I never stood a chance.
It was time to ask what has been on my mind for 26 years. I asked him why did he feel he needed to support Fr Bob? My brother said that at the time he was an idealistic seminarian. The paradigm of the time was that it was a moral failing, not a criminal act, and with prayer, repentance and penance, someone could turn his life around. My brother said he really felt that he could help. He believed he had some sort of power to bring about change and through prayer and support Fr Bob could be healed. That mindset existed throughout the hierarchy of the church and at all levels from parish priests to archbishops to cardinals, the belief was that through prayer, penance, and forgiveness, the abuser would stop the evil. When viewed through todayís paradigm, it is dead wrong, but for the time, it made sense. Also, the church was not operating in a vacuum, but it formulated this viewpoint with the assistance of those in the mental health field. As he was explaining this, I listened. I wasnít trying to ascertain right from wrong, but only trying to understand his explanation.
At this point, my brother apologized. He said he is really sorry that he said and did these things. If he knew then, what he knows now, he would have never gone out to visit. He would have sought criminal charges and jail time for Fr Bob. That apology changed everything. I finally felt validated and it was proof that what happened to me was real and it was wrong. Most importantly, it wasnít my fault.
What happened next surprised me. I took a deep breath and began to speak honestly and openly and I didnít hold back. I said who thought of the boys? Does anyone know the damage these priests caused? Does a Hail Mary or an Our Father make up for the hell these boys are living? Forgiveness is necessary, yes, but these priests need to pay for their sins. Itís the victims who need to do the forgiving, not fellow priests. Who looked out for the innocent boys during their abuse and after? Who is making sure that they are getting the help they need? Who will be their voice and make sure their story is told. Why did everyone rush to the aid of the priests to give them their support and turn their backs on the victims? They are the ones who need support. These priests lost all rights to support and assistance the very first time they molested some kid. They can go to hell for all I care. Someone needs to speak out for the boys. I said Iíve lived in hell for 40 years with the memories of this and there are countless thousands of boys just like me. I will never be the man I couldíve been and I am one of millions who can say the same thing. These boys need to be heard and they need to be helped. Itís time the church did something for them rather than protecting its image.
I didnít know whose voice was speaking as I said this. These were not conscious thoughts that I had ever had. They were coming from a place inside me that I didnít know existed. And when I was through, I was stunned. I didnít know where this came from. My brother was silent, my parents were silent, and then I began to cry. All this stuff had just come out. These were not pre-meditated thoughts that I had pondered, but it was raw emotion that got put into words as it came out. I really feel the spirit was guiding me as I said this, giving me strength as I spoke. That one moment could end up being a life changing point in time.
Iím trying to find the significance of all this today. I feel wiped out, like Iíve given it my all. In some regards, I feel at peace. I finally got answers to a question that has been bothering me for 26 years. More importantly, I really feel I gave support to my 11-year old self. I spoke for him and all heís been through. I stood up for him and finally protected him. I didnít abandon him, but welcomed him home.
I wish to thank all the guys here at MS for their support these last six months. Extra thanks go out to a few special guys who have gone out of their way to befriend me and offer me wisdom and guidance. You have helped me find the strength I needed to speak out for myself and for all those who arenít able to. I truly appreciate your kindness and empathy.

Dave

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#447236 - 09/14/13 09:48 PM Re: I've been waiting since 1987 for this. [Re: DavoSwim]
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3320
Loc: back in the USA
i am blown away by this, Dave!
what an amazing affirmation.
i am so happy for you.
may this be the beginning of a full reconciliation with your brother, another advocate for CSA survivors within the church, better understanding by your parents and deeper healing for you.
Please tell us the "rest of the story" as events play out.
thanks so much for sharing this good news in detail.
lee
_________________________
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

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#447238 - 09/14/13 10:06 PM ! [Re: DavoSwim]
Smalltown80sBoy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 2217
!


Edited by Smalltown80sBoy (02/28/14 09:44 PM)

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#447245 - 09/14/13 10:50 PM Re: I've been waiting since 1987 for this. [Re: DavoSwim]
Jude Offline


Registered: 08/09/12
Posts: 1483
Loc: New England
Originally Posted By: DavoSwim
....I really feel the spirit was guiding me as I said this, giving me strength as I spoke. That one moment could end up being a life changing point in time....

Awesome Dave!

I think the reason this is a turning point is exacty what you said:..."I gave support to my 11-year old self. I spoke for him and all heís been through. I stood up for him and finally protected him. I didnít abandon him, but welcomed him home."

Making peace with your 11 year old self is a huge accomplishment. One that took courage and vulnerability. You deserve more than a pat on the back man, you're a HERO!
_________________________
"But now old friends are acting strange,
they shake their heads, they say I've changed.
Something's lost but something's gained in living every day
....it's life's illusions I recall, I really don't know life at all. "
Joni Mitchell

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#447253 - 09/15/13 12:19 AM Re: I've been waiting since 1987 for this. [Re: DavoSwim]
toddop Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/14/11
Posts: 214
Loc: California
Hey Dave,

Thanks for sharing this amazing experience. I think you have had a very powerful shift around a lot of long-standing issues.

I am in awe and admiration. Thanks for giving a voice to all of us survivors out there that never got a say, or had anyone defend us. That means a lot to me.

The more I see stories like this, the more hope is kindled inside me for myself and other survivors.
_________________________
Todd

"Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from weak minds."
-Albert Einstein

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#447276 - 09/15/13 10:34 AM Re: I've been waiting since 1987 for this. [Re: DavoSwim]
Jay1946 Offline


Registered: 08/08/13
Posts: 76
Loc: Miami, Florida, USA
Awesome Dave!

I am a believer that there are times God speaks through us, and I have no doubt that He was using you as the media to deliver a very powerful and very important message. It is no coincidence that this message was being delivered to a member of the Church in your brother.

I sincerely hope that in addition to giving you peace, this message with forge a close relationship with your brother. He can be a very special source of love, validation, and support in your life.
_________________________
Jay

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#447277 - 09/15/13 10:40 AM Re: I've been waiting since 1987 for this. [Re: DavoSwim]
Adam A Gedman Offline


Registered: 08/12/13
Posts: 187
Loc: Canada
Dave

I am relatively new here, so I had not known your story.
I read your recounting of these events and ultimately beamed with pride for you.
You said the things I think I would have said, you supported your child self and advocated for other harmed children.
And it sounds like you had 'that' cathartic moment. The one that still eludes me.
It sounds like a perfect storm, you received acknowledgment, validation, empathy and affirmation from those who you likely wanted it from, and needed it from most.
Thank you for sharing this.
It reminds me of what I'm ultimately going through all this for.

Keep well
_________________________
Presence is the key, for all we have is now.
All we ever have is right now.

Formerly Adam A Gedman (AKA - A damAGed man)

But you can call me Kevin

Toronto Mini WoR - May 2014

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#447280 - 09/15/13 11:13 AM Re: I've been waiting since 1987 for this. [Re: DavoSwim]
ThisMan Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/22/13
Posts: 767
Loc: upper south
Wow, Dave.

I had this image of you standing before MY brothers as you spoke, you know, sort of saying, "Enough, already." Since I am in a teary mood, thats what I did. Your story is a great way to start this Sunday morning and congratulations for holding the hand of the 11 year old Dave and sharing with your family all the things that could have been without the abuse. You are a brave man. Thanks for sharing.

And thanks for sharing that you believe the Spirit moved you and gave you strength. You know, the power of the Spirit as a pure source of strength. I liked hearing that.


bill.
_________________________
For now we see through a glass, darkly.



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#447287 - 09/15/13 01:17 PM Re: I've been waiting since 1987 for this. [Re: DavoSwim]
KMCINVA Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1554
Dave

I am so happy for you. Yes you did welcome your 11 old child within home. You recognized him, the lost child. It is significant. You can become whole. The child within is the last to become part of the whole. For some the child never becomes part of whole. It took courage to face your brother and family. It gave you validation and like you I only recently received the validation from the diocese. I now realize how important it is in the healing process. You have fought hard and tr>uly deserve the validation you received. You will begin to see the significance of validation. The child within will see your love and acceptance.

I see similarities and differences in your abuse. I too have an older brother 10.5 months older like you. But he was not involved nor did he have any knowledge. It is my 4 yr younger brother who I feared was destroyed by the priest but I will never know.

You are truly compassionate. You have compassion and showed concerns for all the boys who were hurt by this man who was a messenger of God. You spoke from your own child. I have learned this child is always with us and acts in many ways, sometimes good, sometimes badly because like any child he wants love and acceptance. You have given your child love and acceptance by your courage to face your family.

I hope it helps you heal from the abuse and your relationships with your family. I too have been treated at the hands of my family in recent years that awoke the past abuse and child within and wreaked havoc on my life and the life of my once disowned but not loved child within. I rest assured you are moving forward toward the life you deserve. I am proud and happy for you.

Kevin

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#447293 - 09/15/13 02:44 PM Re: I've been waiting since 1987 for this. [Re: DavoSwim]
cant_remember Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/05
Posts: 1039
Dave,

A fellow rural Catholic, I can relate to this post a lot. Bravo! You're going great.

Cant
_________________________
Recovery is possible. Hang in there, brothers.

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