Shame, self-hatred, guilt so thick I lose my breath and want to hurt myself but I don't act on that deep and desperate desire because if I do everyone would find out how crazy I feel every day. So I hide all of it and pretend like nothing is happening - wake up, dress, play the roles I'm expected to play all day, go to bed, wake at 3 and 4 and 5am, waiting for him to come get me again, wake up, dress and repeat. Sometimes today doesn't seem all that from yesterday - pretending everything is okay, hiding his truth as it is my burden to bear. I've told others - my therapist, my wife, my brother, my mother, close personal friends - I'm not living the secrets every day but sometimes it feels like nothing has changed and he is still in control and I'm being the obedient child while I slowly die inside.
Hang in there man!
Your last part is worth stating first! You really are free! He doesn't own you. You belong to your wife and your family, and maybe to your higher power if you have one.
You aren't carrying his secrets any more. You have told, and it sounds like you chose well! You're not alone! You have loved ones who know and support you! That is a great victory!
I heard a survivor of long-term abuse quote a great old saying: (forgive a quick paraphrase.) "Someone who is full hates honey, but a starving person will find even something bitter will taste sweet."
Whether our abusers were family, friends, or others who got close to us, they put themselves forward as a sweet answer: a 'loving' father, a 'good' friend, a 'special' teacher...
My abuse wasn't very long-term (maybe a 6 month build-up until it got really bad), but guilt over it used to tear me to shreds.
I can offer you the bullets I put in my own gun to shoot my guilt. It's worth repeating.
The abusive stuff my perp did to me wasn't good, but it was the best that I had available to me at the time, so I accepted it. It was only later that I could look back and see how hollow and bitter it was.
I think I have a basic human need to be wanted, accepted, and loved. I think those are as primal as breathing. And my perp seemed to offer those things, but he shouldn't have offered them with a hook.
It sounds like this was a family member. Well, you deserved to get attention, to be cherished and loved without
the things he did to you.
I don't need to feel guilty that I wanted to be wanted, or that I liked being treated like I was special, like I was glorious. If it hadn't come with a terrible price it would have made my High School years the best! instead it wrecked me pretty good.
But it wasn't my fault to want to be special. Didn't mean I wanted to be laid out and used like that.
I don't usually use this expression. But man... ***hugs***
You aren't to blame. I only have this one voice to say it, but it wasn't your fault.
This guy abused you for basically your whole conscious life. It was the only real intimacy that you knew. You'd have to be superman or a heartless robot to have the only real intimacy you knew ripped away without feeling some loss. But you went from poisoned 1 to 0 and then you kept going to count up. Marriage, children, family... I'm SO sorry that you didn't get the love you deserved, and i'm so happy that you have a wife and children, siblings who love you.
Please don't hate yourself for remembering the only thing you knew. That's the horrible, unspeakable thing about abuse by people close to us. It isn't that there was nothing we got out of it, it was that the abuse took things we were supposed to enjoy, BORN to enjoy (acceptance, closeness, intimacy, touch, appreciation) and betrays it, wounds it, stomps on it in our hearts and minds.
I've been working on this for more than a decade, and I still have sexual dreams about what my perp did to me. But the difference is that I don't look at knives when I wake up these days, like I used to. I used to accept his blame, and hate myself. Now I let him have his blame. I have enough on my own plate without his extra helping.
I don't get to un-do the boot-print he stomped into my memory and sex life. But I don't have to own it any more.
He made sure that you never knew life apart from sexual abuse. Please don't blame a little boy for trying to do good at the only life he knew. It was the best he knew. And he survived. Please don't blame that teenage boy when he was at an insecure time, when even the strongest and "normal"iest of us wonders if we're loveable or worth anything, when he felt a loss when that poisoned crutch got pulled out from underneath him. Be proud that he found firm ground to stand on. You did!
You don't have to own it.
Waking up? Remembering? Those aren't your faults. They're scars. You survived them. You ARE surviving them. That's strong. That's admirable. Even with all the crap we feel you have built a family, reached out to circles of family and friends. I've read more than one guy here who wishes they had what you have done.
And you're still breaking his hold on you. You're reaching out. You're talking about it.
I use this phrase a lot but it isn't untrue. You're a hero.
You talk about guilt, but all I feel for you is compassion and pride.
When you wake up, I'd think... "I beat you. You don't own this time any more. Look at the family I don't hurt like you hurt me. Look at the people I love better than you loved me. Look at the people who will never feel guilty because of how I love them."
A hero, man. You're a hero. When your heart is wounded and tired, there's at least one guy who thinks you're a hero.