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#463778 - 04/06/14 10:06 PM Stressors that Contributed to my Vulnerability
Jed777 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/13/10
Posts: 40
Loc: New York State
I was abused when I was twelve. As I reflect on that first abuse experience, I realize there was a lot going on in my life at the time.

A little more than a year earlier my sister, who is three years older, was put in a mental hospital. It was very hard on me. I looked up to her. I felt like I lost my sister. She was never the same again. After she came home from the hospital, she scarred me with her rage and frightened me with her disassociation with the world around her.

What was worse, I began wondering when my turn was coming. My father had been hospitalized in a state mental institution when he was 17. I had visited my mother's mother in that same institution when I was 8. My mother's sister was undergoing shock treatments about that time and we went to visit my father's aunt who had had a lobotomy during that time. The prospects for my own future frightened me.

What added to my vulnerability was the death of three of my grandparents when I was 12. I was particularly close to my mother's father. He lived by us and I spent a lot of time with him. I worked with him in his workshop to make my pinewood derby car. He used to pick me up at school. He was the best. Then one day he found out he had a bad heart. He did not want to be bedridden and decided to live what remained of his life to the fullest. He put his finances in order. He waxed his car and then he started digging trenches for a sprinkler system in his front yard. He died digging those trenches. I was shocked. I was devastated. I didn't have a chance to say goodbye. I was so upset that the tears didn't come.

One month after my mother's father died, my youngest brother was born. I was anxious about what would happen to him. I felt that the lack love and real human warmth in our home would suffocate him as it suffocated me. I felt I had to fill in the gap and love him as an older brother in the way my parents had not loved me. I felt burdened and conflicted over this commitment to love him.

On top of these life stressors I was entering puberty and my body was changing. I was anxious about the changes in my body. I was beginning to have pubic hair and I wasn't ready for more changes in my world which was already tumultuous.

It was at this time of vulnerability that an older boy I knew invited me to spend the night with him and abused me. I didn't know what was up or what was down and then he turned my life upside down and shook it. I am sure that I would have responded differently to the abuse if I had not had so many other stressors in my life at time.

Were you particularly vulnerable at the time you were abused?
_________________________
Jed777

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#463787 - 04/07/14 07:08 AM Re: Stressors that Contributed to my Vulnerability [Re: Jed777]
On The Fringe Offline


Registered: 09/21/13
Posts: 326
Loc: Southeast USA
Stressors.

Neglect by parents.

Stresses of gearing beaten and screamed at by drunks. Hearing them fight and break things.

I sought refuge in the caring arms of my abuser. He taught me that I was cool. His place was safe. He was teaching me the rite of passage into manhood.

The lies we believe when we are kids and don't know better, when we want escape.

Me too.
_________________________
I feel more like I do now than I did when I got here.

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#463791 - 04/07/14 09:31 AM Re: Stressors that Contributed to my Vulnerability [Re: Jed777]
JayBro Offline


Registered: 11/13/12
Posts: 251
Loc: Germany
Hey Jed, thank you for sharing that with us. How was it for you the first few times you were able to string together all of these events, changes, and fears into a larger context of your vulnerability at the time of the abuse? (I cannot get over how mental health was so horrifically dealt with in the past- way more harm was caused that good and I am sure perfectly healthy people were harmed or people with misdiagnosed conditions were harmed a lot more!)

I think the realization of our vulnerability at the time of the abuse can be a very angering and overwhelming moment. It certainly was for me.

My vulnerabilities at the onset of my abuse (12/13 years old until I was 18/19):

  • Being gay in a homophobic family and the isolation that ensued (hence why I sought out adults to speak with online- thus putting me in the way of predators)
  • Physically and emotionally abusive parents who taught me to hate myself and not feel worthy enough of love and respect
  • Moving to a new neighbourhood with a socio-cultural barrier to my peers (this too contributed to my isolation)
  • Insecurities about my body, my sexuality, my future, my ethnic identity (I did not want to resemble my parents and other people like them)


There may have been other stuff going on internally too which I had repressed, but generally I wanted to escape my current circumstances and find "new", interesting people who would respect me and listen to me during that difficult time. However, that search only made it even more difficult.
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,,Nun ging es immerzu, weit, weit bis an der Welt Ende."

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#463822 - 04/07/14 08:25 PM Re: Stressors that Contributed to my Vulnerability [Re: On The Fringe]
Jed777 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/13/10
Posts: 40
Loc: New York State
Thanks on the Fringe for your comments,

Me too! I forgot to mention my dad was a drunk.
_________________________
Jed777

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#463823 - 04/07/14 08:34 PM Re: Stressors that Contributed to my Vulnerability [Re: JayBro]
Jed777 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/13/10
Posts: 40
Loc: New York State
[quote=JayBro] How was it for you the first few times you were able to string together all of these events, changes, and fears into a larger context of your vulnerability at the time of the abuse?

JayBro,

My first abuse took place more than 50 years ago. Only now am I able to string together all these events, changes, and fears into a larger context of vulnerability. As I do, I feel a sense of freedom. I carried a sense of guilt that I permitted my abuser to touch me and that I reciprocated. Now as I read the many posts of other men and I work with my therapist, I feel a sense of compassion for myself and my abuser. The burden of guilt is lifting and I am able to breathe.

Thank you for asking. You made me think.

_________________________
Jed777

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#463864 - 04/08/14 04:10 PM Re: Stressors that Contributed to my Vulnerability [Re: Jed777]
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3397
Loc: somewhere in Africa
Originally Posted By: Jed777
. . . As I reflect on that first abuse experience, I realize there was a lot going on in my life at the time.
. . .
Were you particularly vulnerable at the time you were abused?


yep -

my father died when i was 3. mom remarried when i was almost 6. she was utterly dependent upon him and would not/could not protect me or intervene in any way. i wanted a dad. i got an abusive step-dad.

his verbal, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse made me feel worthless and conditioned me to not resist or avoid being dominated, controlled, or mistreated and to crave affection and approval.

that left me totally vulnerable to the bullies and abusers in middle school and scouts, who took advantage of my meekness, passivity and submission.

being an "early bloomer" also made me more of a target - and my ignorance of anything about what was happening to my body also made me feel confused, helpless and like a freakish outcast.

by the time an adult stranger molested me as a teenager in a menswear fitting room, i was an easy target - i just stood there and froze as if the inevitable was happening again.

given the circumstances of my life, i cannot imagine how anything could have turned out differently. understanding this has given me some ability to forgive myself for what happened.

lee


Edited by traveler (04/08/14 04:14 PM)
_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago


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#463873 - 04/08/14 07:34 PM Re: Stressors that Contributed to my Vulnerability [Re: Jed777]
Dave PNW Offline


Registered: 04/03/13
Posts: 112
Loc: Pacific Northwest
Hey Jed, really good question. My most serious abuse started at age 12 also. Sorry man. You really had a lot of stressful events going on at once for a kid at that age. Severe stress and the loss of close relationships at any age makes us vulnerable. Like many here I know what it's like to live in a home with emotional and physical abuse and I knew the pain of being isolated and not fitting in. All of those contributed to me being vulnerable to being sexually abused by another boy in my neighborhood for two summers.

But what occurs to me in this thread is that we were vulnerable primarily because we were just kids. And those who trespassed across those lives did so because they held the edge of superior power, either overtly or covertly over us at that time. For some this imbalance lasted a night and for others for years... either through age, size, authority, fear, coercion, more advanced knowledge or simply our own normal needs for human connection. It doesn't take extraordinary circumstances to make a kid vulnerable to sexual abuse... just being a kid is enough.

I think how we process it afterward, or don't process it as in my case, has a lot to do with the emotional and social resources we had available to us to draw on at the time. Kids who report and get help early do better than those, like me, who lock it away for 40 years. I am learning though that I have the chance now to do the recovery work I couldn't do when I was that 12 year old boy. It really wasn't a possibility for me back then and that's not my fault. What I do about that now though is my responsibility.

Keep posting Jed. Good work. Sincerely Dave.

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#463878 - 04/08/14 09:55 PM Re: Stressors that Contributed to my Vulnerability [Re: Jed777]
JayBro Offline


Registered: 11/13/12
Posts: 251
Loc: Germany
Very well said, Dave!! Thank you for posting.
_________________________
,,Nun ging es immerzu, weit, weit bis an der Welt Ende."

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#463879 - 04/08/14 10:03 PM Re: Stressors that Contributed to my Vulnerability [Re: Jed777]
Cthulhu Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/13/13
Posts: 138
Loc: Cascadia
I was really alone. I needed someone to acknowledge I was here, that I existed...

And I already thought I was gay. I knew people didn't like gay people - So I assumed it was normal and something I should just get used to.

When I found someone online who seemed to be interested in me - I was so thankful. Thankful even after the abuse started. He awknoweledge I existed... even if my existence was only that of a sexual toy or prop.
_________________________
“what matters most is how well you walk through the fire”
-Charles Bukowski

some context

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#463904 - 04/09/14 04:41 PM Re: Stressors that Contributed to my Vulnerability [Re: Jed777]
Chase Eric Offline
Moderator
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 1347
Hi, Jed -

Quote:
Were you particularly vulnerable at the time you were abused?

Like you, I, too, was twelve, just going on thirteen. I think my childhood was full of the standard issue stressors for preteen boys - maintaining oneself in the upper echelons of the popularity rolls with one's peers, hitting enough home runs to justify being in the first picks when choosing sides for baseball, staying out of detention while still pushing the limits of the rules, and wondering when that first hint of manhood would lightly fuzz around my ankles, like half the class already had (I was a late bloomer - passed for 11-12 when I was 14).

You seem to have had an extraordinary amount on your plate. Your family history culminating in your sister's mental health issues, the loss of your grandpa, the new baby brother. These things tend to make us even more vulnerable to the ones who would prey upon us.

I was vulnerable because of many things. I was a slight little twelve-year-old hairless mouse of a boy and he was a 15-year-old adolescent heavily into puberty, hair, muscles and acne. He had a defect in the controlling arm governing any actions on his predilections and I was ill-equipped to stop it. I didn't even have a vocabulary for what he was doing to me, and it turned out he didn't either. And when I responded to his sexual invasions, that impugned any sense of integrity or worth I felt I had. I thought I liked it, so I started hating me. And then accidents started. Accident-prone me. It was such a huge joke, but there was a reason I was a little daredevil, always getting injured. And when he was caught then released, and I was asked to keep him off the girls, well that just assigned me to him and shut me up. For years. For decades.

Quote:
I felt I had to fill in the gap and love him as an older brother in the way my parents had not loved me. I felt burdened and conflicted over this commitment to love him.

When my molester was caught, I asked my dad - who did not know I was a victim - why he molested the girls. My dad told me he wasn't getting enough love at home. When I was later asked to hang out with him and make sure he stayed away from the girls, on some level I thought I was responsible for filling in that gap. So while we are discussing different situations, what you said resonates pretty deeply with me.
_________________________



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