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#465154 - 05/09/14 04:43 PM Abused as a toddler, Diagnosed with PTSD at 23
NeverGiveUp23 Offline


Registered: 01/10/13
Posts: 5
Loc: OHIO
***Please Only Comment On The Thread*****

I was hoping you could clarify some things for me, as I have found it is a common concern of men who are survivors of CSA. I had a female babysitter perform oral sex on me when I was 3 or 4, it was a one time thing, but seemed like it lasted for quite a while. After it happened I told, and was never given any help regarding the abuse. In the couple years following the abuse, I had some incidents of acting out with other kids, mainly having the kids do to me what the babysitter did, and me only doing the act 1 time. It happened with 3 girls and 2 boys that I can remember all before the age of 8. I had anger problems and trust issues growing up but I was able to develop relationships and date girls off and on since I was a young kid to this present day, never any concern there. I was diagnosed with Delayed Onset PTSD in Sept 2012 at the age of 23, remind you I never talked to anyone or got counseling for the abuse as I never thought it affected me, and my mother told me the acting out was normal when I asked when I was a kid and realized it shouldn't have happened. One of the incidents of acting out occurred one time with my brother who is a year and a half younger than me when I was 6 or 7 & I'm extremely shameful of it occuring, and wish I would have known better. And I think what triggered my PTSD is being around children who were around the age of me when I was abused, and my brother never dated many girls, although he made a slight attempt to. He came out to me in 2010 that he was gay, and I think that triggered it too. I never saw that coming although others had questioned it, and said they knew it before he came out. I canít help but blame myself for his sexual orientation, and cant help but think he might not be, had that not have happened.

Also I know another common fear of men who are straight once they face their abuse is, the fear of ďbecoming" gay or that those incidents as a young child mean you are gay, and not straight, although Iíve always been attracted and sexual with females. And I have no attraction to men, and no desire to be involved with men beyond normal friendships. Facing my abuse has made me homophobic to a point, although I never really was before and it has negatively impacted my friendships. I guess my biggest concern is how facing my abuse has made me uncomfortable in my skin, Iíve isolated a lot, and prior to me facing my abuse, I felt comfortable in my skin to say a friend or another guy is attractive or good looking or make comments on their build in conversation, as I was a bodybuilder and big time athlete and not think twice but ever since I started facing my abuse & feeling responsible for my brothers sexual orientation, I have seemed to have lost that sense of comfort regarding those things and have become very hyper vigilant regarding normal interactions with other men, and I fear that people will think Iím gay if they knew I was abused, and acted out with boys as a young child. I know I didnít know what I or we were doing but its repulsive to me looking back and is shameful that it happened. To where being abused by the babysitter doesn't bother me as much because that kind of activity is normal for men and women to do together, except for the fact it is the cause of me acting out.

I guess what I am asking is what can I do to get some peace of mind or some clarity on these issues? And as far as letting go of the fear and not worrying so much about what others will think of me as a man regarding my abuse and acting out that took place so I can release myself of responsibility and continue to heal and move forward.

Any help would be great.



Edited by NeverGiveUp23 (05/09/14 04:49 PM)

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#465158 - 05/09/14 06:40 PM Re: Abused as a toddler, Diagnosed with PTSD at 23 [Re: NeverGiveUp23]
newground Offline
Chatroom Moderator
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 10/11/11
Posts: 761
Loc: michigan
hey bud
the abuse places us in a position as children that we have no way to to deal with. you bear NO responsibility for what took place though I know the guilt and shame seem way too much to bear. I have found that the most help comes from the one thing I never wanted to do....talking about it. if you can find a male csa group that would be the best thing. the weekends of recovery through male survivor are great too. and there are others. I hope that you will find a place even here in chat to share some of the burden. the things we struggle with are so familiar and normaly very common.among us. you have come to the right place man.
heal well
Jeff
_________________________
Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering whale; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee. let me then tow to pieces, while still chasing thee, thou damned whale! Thus, I give up the spear!"
Herman Melville

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#465204 - 05/10/14 11:48 PM Re: Abused as a toddler, Diagnosed with PTSD at 23 [Re: NeverGiveUp23]
JayBro Offline


Registered: 11/13/12
Posts: 251
Loc: Germany
Hey NeverGiveUp23,
I'd like to reiterate what Jeff (newground) said: the abuse was not your fault and you bear no responsibility for what happened. You are experiencing normal reactions to abnormal experiences. I don't know if you have yet read it, but often one of the most common signs that a child has been sexually abused is if they are sexually acting out or have a knowledge about sexual behaviour that is above the average level for their age group. Keep this in mind while you process your past experiences of sexually acting out- it was a normal reaction to an abnormal experience. It did not help that those who you told did not believe you or downplayed it.

Also, you are NOT responsible for your brother's sexuality. Homosexuality and bisexuality do not result from childhood sexual abuse, just as heterosexuality does not result from childhood sexual abuse. While, of course, sexual trauma will impact your development of a healthy sexuality (and interaction with self and others), sexual orientation is something independent of childhood sexual abuse.

If this can put it into perspective for you, I am a 23 year old gay CSA survivor and I remember being attracted to men BEFORE my abuse occurred. It is understandable, however, that you are experiencing feelings of insecurity and vulnerability around your masculinity, and when men are mindfully exploring this particular theme in their trauma recovery, such feelings of homophobia may arise. Yet they are more a reflection of one's own fears and affects from trauma; a boy being sexually abused by either a woman or a man and the ensuing distress he experiences is not in anyway homosexual- child abuse is not about one's sexuality so much as it is about violating the integrity of another human being. There is a difference between healthy, consentual, adult sexuality and sex being used as a weapon to control, use, and abuse people. If anyone were to associate sexual abuse with homosexuality, then they are misguided and clearly do not understand child sexual abuse. I was afraid that people would make the assumption about me that my sexuality was somehow caused by my sexual abuse- and while some like my mother do think that- they are also the very same people who are homophobic and uneducated regarding sexual abuse and homosexuality.

It is common for us sexual abuse survivors to feel that when our innocence and healthy sexual development were taken away, so too was our sense of self. Part of our trauma recovery involves re-connecting with this self, spiritually, emotionally, physically, and sexually. Seeing ourselves as agents in our own recovery is very much about re-developing our sense of who we really are, what are goals and motivations are, and how we make sense of the world around us. Fear from our abuse can be quite crippling when it comes to connecting with ourselves & others and being comfortable with who we are. Shame, guilt, feelings of unworthiness, and self-doubt and fear are all common symptoms of our sexual abuse, and they indeed negatively affect our sense of comfortability with our identites, bodies, and self.

I think a great book to help with understanding PTSD, how it affects you & your thoughts, as well as to develop coping skills is "The PTSD Workbook" by Mary Beth Williams. Also, finding a male CSA support group may be quite helpful for you to talk about and express these feelings and to process your emotions and trauma. This website is a great resource too!

Take care and thanks for coming on MaleSurvivor!
_________________________
,,Nun ging es immerzu, weit, weit bis an der Welt Ende."

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#465224 - 05/11/14 11:46 AM Re: Abused as a toddler, Diagnosed with PTSD at 23 [Re: NeverGiveUp23]
don64 Online   content
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 691
Loc: St. Croix, USVI
Hi Nevergiveup23,

I second what's been said up 'til now. Also, a common effect of CSA is compulsive thinking--a compulsion to act out in ways springing from your abuse which may have nothing to with your true nature. I sucked a neighbor's penis when I was 5, I think he was the same age, however the point is I was not sexual, neither was he, and for me to do that was completely abnormal for my age. Now I am gay, but I certainly didn't know that at 5, and my behavior was a result of sexual abuse, physical abuse, and torture from both parents in infancy and toddler-hood.

Please give yourself a break, and know your normal development was seriously interfered with. My feeling has always been that sexual interaction with infants/children is like plugging a 110 appliance into a 220 electrical circuit--the 110's electrical circuitry gets fried.

Take a deep breath, know it is normal for it to take years or decades for some to work through this, and know the only help you ever have to offer yourself is in the present moment. Worrying about tomorrow sucks the life out of today.

Sending you love and support.

Don
_________________________
Divine Law is not judgment or denial of self truths. Divine Law is honoring harmony that comes from a peaceful mind, an open heart, a true tongue, a light step, a forgiving nature, and a love of all living creatures. Jamie Sams & David Carson, Medicine Cards

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#465236 - 05/11/14 08:04 PM Re: Abused as a toddler, Diagnosed with PTSD at 23 [Re: NeverGiveUp23]
NeverGiveUp23 Offline


Registered: 01/10/13
Posts: 5
Loc: OHIO
First off I would like to thank the 3 of you for taking the time to respond, you didn't have to and yet you took the time to reach out and try to give me some peace of mind.

Second off I want to stress how much facing my abuse and its effects on me have shaken up my life. I was abused at like 3 or 4 like I have stated in the first post, by a black female babysitter, skin color is irrelevant, but it is part of the story. I then acted out in isolated incidents with each peer between like 5-7, as I said 3 girls and 2 boys. It really bothers me a lot in the fact of how your body deceives you and responds to abuse as if you enjoy some part of it, which I think adds to the turmoil of working through it. Which is also a part of why I think kids act out, is because a part of it feels good, but also trying to figure out what it is that happened since we don't carry that knowledge to understand sex and things that come with it. I have done a ton of reading about PTSD, and common affects but it doesn't take away from the feelings of loneliness and isolation, not to include the amount of fear that comes with it.

I just am so thrown off by how it can come back years later to cause so many problems, after you have lived so long with the memories from time to time with little to no problems, at least that you could see. But I have a terrible time with connecting things together that may not belong together, as in my brothers sexuality, as a result of one incident, but I was a lot more "grown up" as a child, as far as breaking up my parents fights and taking care of my brother, and myself. I have always rested a lot of responsibility on my shoulders. We were also in foster care 3 times between ages of 3 and 10 for like 5 or 6 years.

But all growing up from ages of like 7 until now and beyond, I dated quite a few girls, and never thought much about anything else nor was I really hyper vigilant of my friendships or relationships with other people. But facing my abuse and the fact that I am straight and had those kind of interactions with other boys (males) really bothers me, and it has a lot to do with fear of what others would think or say. I think the homophobic feelings come in as a fear of it happening again, as if I'm still vulnerable or helpless when I am not. Or that it takes away from me being a "real" straight male or that people will think I'm a fake having had those interactions. Because I do not dislike people who are homosexual, it is their life and it does not effect me, as long as they don't try to hit on me or whatever, just like they wouldn't want straight people pushing heterosexuality on them. Which I think is pretty normal.

A big idol of mine is R.A Dickey, the MLB pitcher for the Toronto Bluejays, his childhood resembles mine a lot. As I was a baseball player as a child, a pitcher also. His abuse was a female babysitter and a 17 year old male when he was 8. He didn't talk about it until he was 32, and now he is in his 40's and wrote a book. He is worth looking into, and his story, same with Keyon Dooling who was a pro basketball player.

I, just like many male survivors just want a normal life back and to not be so hyper vigilant and uncomfortable in my skin at times. I also look forward to helping other kids and adults move towards healing when I get further in my own recovery. The myths that surround male sexual abuse is easily internalized, about if you were abused you will abuse, and it affects sexuality and all of the other ones on here and 1in6.org makes it hard for us men to heal because of society.

I want to move beyond this so it doesn't effect my relationship with my kids whenever I become a dad, I have always looked forward to it and the last year and a half since this stuff came up in flashbacks and PTSD reactions, it has caused me to have a hesitant viewpoint about it, because I don't want to be distant or not be able to be affectionate towards them, it wouldn't be fair to them.

But thank you all again

God Bless!

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#465271 - 05/12/14 06:45 PM Re: Abused as a toddler, Diagnosed with PTSD at 23 [Re: NeverGiveUp23]
JayBro Offline


Registered: 11/13/12
Posts: 251
Loc: Germany
Hey NeverGiveUp23!! You brought up some good points I want to address, so I broke it up by section laugh

Originally Posted By: NeverGiveUp23
First off I would like to thank the 3 of you for taking the time to respond, you didn't have to and yet you took the time to reach out and try to give me some peace of mind.


Responding to you is our pleasure and just one of the many reasons why this message board exists. You have come to the right place to connect with other men who have experienced/are experiencing what you are experiencing. Letting it out, and knowing that you are not being judged, but rather listened to, supported, and given helpful feedback is such a tremendous help in itself. Articulating our needs in this journey is difficult, and often when we do, it is hard for others without these experiences or understanding of the issue to appreciate what's going on and to provide insight.

Originally Posted By: NeverGiveUp23
Second off I want to stress how much facing my abuse and its effects on me have shaken up my life [...] It really bothers me a lot in the fact of how your body deceives you and responds to abuse as if you enjoy some part of it, which I think adds to the turmoil of working through it.


I absolutely hear you on this one man! It is something that after 2.5 years of recovery, I still struggle with. Our developing brains were so heavily impacted and traumatized by what happened. These bodily feelings of arousal are such a common occurrance in both male and female sexual abuse survivors and it causes many of us much guilt, shame, and confusion. Just like any trigger which brings you back to the abusive memories, sexual feelings can easily led us back to those traumatizing moments. These sexual triggers can be overcome and largely left in the past. It does, however, take much healing and re-wiring of our brains with positive, respectful, and healthy sexual experiences. Our nervous system and genitals might be programmed to automatically react to touch and stimulation, however our pysches at the time of the abuse were not ready for it, were overwhelmed, and were thus harmed.

Currently, I am in a stage in my recovery where I am re-claiming ownership of my body and having those positive, healthy, re-affirming sexual experiences as an adult. Trudging through that aspect of my trauma- the sexual triggers and patterns I was trained to take on for my abusers- does often come to the forefront of my psyche and can be distressing. However, during my recovery journey thus far, I have learned ways of calming myself, rationalizing what I am experiencing, and being less taken back. I accepted at the onset of my recovery that this would be something that will last a long time and will be dealt with in stages, with some components requiring more work than others. All in all, I have made tremendous strides, and the knowledge of how child sexual abuse and PTSD affect a person, along with appreciation for my own successes in this journey, give me motivation to keep going forward.

Originally Posted By: NeverGiveUp23
A big idol of mine is R.A Dickey, the MLB pitcher for the Toronto Bluejays, his childhood resembles mine a lot.


That's fantastic! I find that role models are so key to helping me in my own goals and recovery, and in the last year I have been lucky enough to encounter some everyday people who are trauma survivors and my own heros. If you follow hockey, former NHL player Theo Fleury has been another important public figure who was sexually victimized as a child, wrote about it, and is now a prominent victim's advocate on the issue. I think there was also a CNN anchor who was sexually abused as a child and he too as written about it. People like that are so courageous.

Originally Posted By: NeverGiveUp23
But facing my abuse and the fact that I am straight and had those kind of interactions with other boys (males) really bothers me, and it has a lot to do with fear of what others would think or say [...] I, just like many male survivors just want a normal life back and to not be so hyper vigilant and uncomfortable in my skin at times. I also look forward to helping other kids and adults move towards healing when I get further in my own recovery. The myths that surround male sexual abuse is easily internalized, about if you were abused you will abuse, and it affects sexuality and all of the other ones on here and 1in6.org makes it hard for us men to heal because of society.


I think it is very positive and great that you have goals and now a purpose to your trauma recovery. Those goals really do help keep you motivated and on-track as you move along. The abuse done to us robbed us of many things, and I personally believe that the ultimate form of justice is for us to take our lives back and help others do the same. Those insecurities are more or less indicators of the extent of the abuse and what areas of your psyche have been scarred and need to be worked on. You mentioned the web resource 1in6... well think about that the next time you feel insecure and vulnerable around other men. That then means around 1/6th have also been sexually victimized! That's an even larger statistic than how many men are gay/bi/trans!! And, if you expand that statistic to include how many men are affected by childhood sexual abuse by that happened to those close to them, then of course, the number gets bigger. In Canada, there was recently a study released that 1 in 3 adults in the country experienced some form of abuse as children. Sexual or otherwise, child abuse has many adverse affects on the individual and you are most certainly not the only one dealing with it.

Those vulnerabilities are irrational cognitive distortions arising from the abuse. I think it may help to talk about them further and build your mental defences and coping mechanisms around them to thrawt them off in the future. As you practice this, you internalize those new beliefs, and they become a second nature and a part of you!

You expressed that despite your knowledge on the topics of PTSD etc you still feel lonely, isolated, and fearful, which is completely understandable. I think most trauma survivors can attest to feeling that way, despite their self-education on the topic.

Originally Posted By: NeverGiveUp23
I want to move beyond this so it doesn't effect my relationship with my kids whenever I become a dad [...]


Absolutely! And I believe that you are well on your way to making an amazing recovery. Many abuse survivors feel triggered by children and hold guilt around them as if we are going to abuse children or be like their perpetrator(s). While those worries are irrational (yet common), they are also a big self-hinderance in one's recovery because they continue to traumatize the individual enteraining these intrusive thoughts. You are not those thoughts and feelings. You are being proactive by wanting to deal with your trauma while you are still young; and I believe it will yield positive results for you.

I wanted to also add that I am amazed by some of the similarities in my own experience to your's in regards to your coming to terms with the abuse and tackling it. It is certainly a very scary and isolating journey to begin, however you are making some great first steps. I came to terms with my abuse and started dealing with it when I was 20, and I didn't get to meet other abuse survivors in person until I was 22. However, I did find this website within a few months and the message boards have been really helpful to me. I want to extend that helpfulness and support to you. So keep in mind brother, you have someone here who has got your back! smile
_________________________
,,Nun ging es immerzu, weit, weit bis an der Welt Ende."

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#465291 - 05/13/14 08:58 AM Re: Abused as a toddler, Diagnosed with PTSD at 23 [Re: NeverGiveUp23]
NeverGiveUp23 Offline


Registered: 01/10/13
Posts: 5
Loc: OHIO
Thank you and you all have made valid points, and nonetheless it is hard work to recover from something that harmed us at such a vulnerable age. And I've read it normally takes decades to realize the harm done and to begin the journey.

I've learned a lot and sometimes wonder if I know too much because it is very easy to start connecting things that don't belong together as you reflect over your whole life so far. Those myths do cause a lot of unneeded damage and distress.

But thanks for the support and it seems like many if not all of the men and therapists here do nothing but encourage and help people move forward in healing and reclaiming their lives.

Thanks all!

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#465484 - 05/18/14 11:48 PM Re: Abused as a toddler, Diagnosed with PTSD at 23 [Re: NeverGiveUp23]
JayBro Offline


Registered: 11/13/12
Posts: 251
Loc: Germany
My pleasure, my friend!
_________________________
,,Nun ging es immerzu, weit, weit bis an der Welt Ende."

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