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#465533 - 05/20/14 11:54 AM I'm nervous, but I'm here
pattom Offline


Registered: 05/20/14
Posts: 32
Loc: Southern Midwesternish
I have been an anonymous lurker for awhile now. I have been to this site off and on for months. I have read many of the experiences of the brave men who have shared their stories. Even as I type this I am choking up realizing that I am really not a freak, that I am not defective, and that I am not alone. That, all by itself, gives me hope. I have spent days crafting this message carefully, almost obsessively. I finally just have to stop editing and send it. I am terrified that I will share too much or maybe not enough. I'm worried that, even here, you will think I'm weak and not a real man.

Since discovering this little corner of the internet, I have been to just about every part of it to try and find some insight into my own particular situation. Wow... "my own particular situation." Did you see that? That's me using euphemisms and tons of extra words so I can put off as long as possible telling you all the truth. Which means, of course, that I am here for the same reason as the rest of you guys.

This next sentence feels like a kick to my balls every single time I read it. Here goes: I was sexually abused when I was six years old at my school by a doctor and six med students after a group physical exam. Five years later, when I was eleven, I was beaten, tied up and violently sexually abused by my fifteen year old brother. And I'm pretty sure the rabbit hole is much deeper. I do not know how much more there is to know, but I have a gnawing feeling that more will surface. I know that in the beginning its important to name it. But, right now, every time I f***ing say it, I die just a little bit on the inside.

I'm fifty years old. I have a loving wife, beautiful daughters and on the outside my carefully molded mask shows the world that I am happy, successful, and in control. On the inside, I am still the scared naked six year old in a room full of adults I do not know and the filthy bruised, welted and bleeding eleven year old tied up in the closet. Some days I feel like I am drowning in my shame and all of the "couldas, wouldas, and shouldas."

I have known the basics of my abuse for most of my life. I knew just enough to know it was bad. As the years passed and the deeper memories came, I would go for "help." When the memories would become too graphic or too real, thus making the work too hard, I would run away as fast as I could. It used to be easy to repackage these memories and tuck them away. Calling them something else or denying they exist only keeps the wounds open. Wounds that never heal eventually become infected. Recent turmoil in my life, "triggers" as I have learned to call them here, have picked off every scab of these wounds. I am struggling with the realization that what really happened to me is far more horrific than I could have imagined.

I am just beginning the real work of healing. To be truthful, right now I'm just trying to give myself permission to heal. I am finding it difficult to stop blaming myself. I just can't seem to let myself off the hook. But I'm trying. Changing a lifetime of behaviors is terrifying, but I know its time to take back what was robbed of me all those years ago. I am blessed that I have found an amazing therapist. He is providing me a safe place to do the work. He is the only person who I have been brave enough to share the details with so far. He believes me. And he does not think I am crazy or delusional. Being validated is an amazing feeling.

I offer my introduction with no expectation. Whether or not anyone reads it, is not as important as the fact that I was brave enough to get it out there. Just typing these words has been theraputic. I am hopeful that this place will keep me on the path towards becoming whole. Perhaps the next step is sharing the details of my story. I am not ready to do that quite yet. Time will tell.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all for your courage to share your stories. Your examples gave me the courage to take this very first step. Hopefully the first of many more steps to come. It is inspiring to me that this is a community of strength supported by those who once felt they were powerless.

So my first question may be I rhetorical, or maybe not. I survived my sexual abuse. Surviving my recovery should be a piece of cake... right? I sure hope so!
_________________________
Before I knew you, I thought brave was not being afraid.
You've taught me that bravery is being terrified and doing it anyway.
Laurell K. Hamilton

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#465537 - 05/20/14 12:57 PM Re: I'm nervous, but I'm here [Re: pattom]
newground Offline
Chatroom Moderator
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 10/11/11
Posts: 751
Loc: michigan
Hi pattom
I wish I could give as emphatic a yes about recovery as you no doubt would like to hear. unfortunately it has been the hardest thing I have done period. I hear so much in what you say that clicks with me. one of my abusers was in a hospital after a surgery, I was 6 as well. for the longest time all my life really I told myself it couldnt have happened and all I really remembered was the bleeding after from my butt( it was a tonsil surgery) it has aoll now played out in much detail and it is horrible I wish you luck man you have taken the first step and it it a HUGE one I know you will do well man its all down hill from here ... well not so much but it will get better
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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#465538 - 05/20/14 01:48 PM Re: I'm nervous, but I'm here [Re: pattom]
KMCINVA Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1617
Pattom

Welcome--you have taken a major step forward--writing about your abuse, admitting it occurred and sharing with others.

Healing is a process, we all heal differently and at different paces. Be patient, for me writing in my journal and sharing in support was instrumental, others find it through music, faith or other methods. You need to find where you feel safe--without feeling safe it is hard to open up about the abuse-a poison that has been in your body for a lifetime.

There will be ups and downs in healing, it can be an emotional roller coaster--you may take 3 steps forward than 1 step backwards--but do not become discouraged. Make sure you have support around you. Surround yourself with caring and nonjudgmental people--because emotional stress and torment will hold you back.

Take your time, share when comfortable, but feel safe, with safety you can let the secret out. Letting it out takes away the "mask" that you have created to hide the past and trap the child within. I buried, so I thought my child within,but he was there waiting for a time to escape and wreak havoc. Over time you will reconnect with the child and embrace him--he just wants to be a part of you and to be loved by you.

Heal well and remember we are here to support you--we do not judge and we understand the pain and betrayal you have lived.

Kevin

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#465567 - 05/21/14 12:10 AM Re: I'm nervous, but I'm here [Re: pattom]
pattom Offline


Registered: 05/20/14
Posts: 32
Loc: Southern Midwesternish
Kevin, Jeff... thank you for your kind words. I know its going to be a messy ride, but I am finally realizing that its exhausting keeping this shit hidden. I take a little comfort quote from my grandmother's refrigerator. Beautiful things grow out of shit." That is literally and figuratively the truth.

It has been an interesting day since I posted my introduction. I was prepared for a flood of... well.. everything. I assumed that I was punching a hole in the dam, and that rushes of memories, anger, sadness, etc. would flow out of me. As I traveled through my day, to my surprise, all that I found was that I was a little bit more at ease. I was holding my head up a little higher. I actually got stuff done! I took a chance and shared my deepest darkest secret, and I didn't die, or even stumble. I'm ok. I will call this a win.

Kevin, one word jumped out at me from your reply... safety. My therapist has been hammering this home to me. But how do I create safety for myself, when I'm not sure I understand truly what that means? I have no frame of reference. I certainly never felt any safety as a child. I'm not sure I can reliably identify what that feels like. I believe I have surrounded my children in safety. But have I really? Or am I just emulating what I think it looks like?

Anyway...thanks... today was a good day. For a little while today, I felt a little more like a survivor and not a victim. I hope I remember that feeling the next time I am overwhelmed with it all.

Peace, Pattom


Edited by pattom (05/21/14 12:11 AM)
_________________________
Before I knew you, I thought brave was not being afraid.
You've taught me that bravery is being terrified and doing it anyway.
Laurell K. Hamilton

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#465581 - 05/21/14 08:10 AM Re: I'm nervous, but I'm here [Re: pattom]
newground Offline
Chatroom Moderator
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 10/11/11
Posts: 751
Loc: michigan
hey pattom
our definition of safety comes from us. it is not a concrete thing. you have it im sure but perhaps you dont know what you do to achieve it. those things are what define us. for me it is "the rules" I need to know what the rules are in any given situation. if not it feels very random and chaotic totally not safe. others are different. we have put things in place to help us feel safe though often it is really illusion. congrats on being so positive man THAT is a good start.
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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#465604 - 05/21/14 01:11 PM Re: I'm nervous, but I'm here [Re: pattom]
KMCINVA Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1617
Hello

Safety for me came to mean I did not have fear of being judged for what I was about to tell. It was being with someone who would look at me with understanding and compassion. I had many unsafe moments--when people would ignore, look at me with disdain, roll there eyes, say get over it, try to deny it happened--I learned to better judge who I could tell. Over time I seemed to be better able to feel out who was caring, had a kind heart, who was real and not a phony who puts on a facade of being kind and caring. My judgment improved. But in the end I came to realize more are good and kind people and those without a heart were far fewer. Sadly, the latter ones for me were people I thought I knew but they showed their true colors in my time of need.

It became a necessity for me, to feel I would not be judged but understood and accepted. That is when I felt safe. For you it may be different emotions or feelings.

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#465611 - 05/21/14 05:35 PM Re: I'm nervous, but I'm here [Re: pattom]
CafeMan Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/18/13
Posts: 150
Loc: Chicago
Welcome, Pattom.

Congratulations on finding this site and expressing a desire to heal yourself. What a brave man to come here and share your story like so many before you and after you.

The truth at first is hard to swallow with respect to admitting of sexual abuse. It's almost surreal. I remember I said to myself as a 12 year old boy, "I am a victim of sexual abuse, I am now part of that statistic of children who experienced these actions!" I couldn't believe I said this at 12 years old--but I did. I had to in order to move forward in my life. It is a shocking experience to admit this to yourself. But, in time, you adapt.

There will be no one way or right way to heal. There will be several days of tears ahead of you. However, there will be several days of laughter ahead of you. It does get better. It's great that you no longer feel that you are at blame or tarnished by this. Bad things can happen to good, innocent people--especially children. However, good things will always happen AFTER the bad.

I congratulate you on marrying, raising a family and being a responsible family man. It shows you have strength, hope, courage and love to move forward in your own way. Use these tools to your advantage for your journey in healing. All my best to you!

-Nick

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#465622 - 05/21/14 10:38 PM Re: I'm nervous, but I'm here [Re: pattom]
pattom Offline


Registered: 05/20/14
Posts: 32
Loc: Southern Midwesternish
Thanks guys for the encouragement. You have no idea how much it means to me. I was hoping today would show some progress. In actuality, I keep getting stuck. Surreal is a perfect way to describe trying to come to grips with sexual abuse. It all just seems too unreal, then BAM, there it is, its all too real again.

One thing that I have learned from being here is that we all struggle with whether or not we will be believed. I get that. So if I know that, then why am I having so much trouble believing myself? Why can't I trust that the little boy inside me is telling the truth? Or is this just the adult me wanting this to not be true?

Anyway, i could keep typing questions all night. You guys have been amazing. Being here, and being encouraged by your knowledge and experience, seems to be providing me insights that I'm not sure I could get from therapy alone.

Peace, pattom
_________________________
Before I knew you, I thought brave was not being afraid.
You've taught me that bravery is being terrified and doing it anyway.
Laurell K. Hamilton

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#465632 - 05/22/14 12:28 AM Re: I'm nervous, but I'm here [Re: pattom]
Jude Offline


Registered: 08/09/12
Posts: 1509
Loc: New England
Hey pattom,

Welcome! And dittos to all the above. This is the one place where I can be totally honest about it all and no one will judge me. I can't tell you how much that's meant to me. You've made a good start. Things might get tougher ahead. Don't give up, no matter what. The only way out is through it.

jude
_________________________
"I get up, and nothing gets me down.
You got it tough. I've seen the toughest around.
And I know, baby, just how you feel.
You've got to roll with the punches to get to what's real"
Van Halen

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#465701 - 05/23/14 11:16 AM Re: I'm nervous, but I'm here [Re: pattom]
Dave PNW Offline


Registered: 04/03/13
Posts: 111
Loc: Pacific Northwest
Pattom
I read your introduction and just wanted to say that I am sorry you are having to work through this, but am glad that you found this safe place and a good therapist to work with. I want to also honor you for having the courage to begin to talk about this part of your life. I know how hard that first post can be. You are not alone.

A year ago I came here and did the same thing you have just done. So much of what you wrote I could have written myself... and did. It took me 40 years to first tell my story here... and then to a counselor and then my wife and just this week to my new therapist. Every time we tell some of it, whatever we are ready and willing to do at the time, we get a bit more of ourselves back. The secret we have hidden our entire life becomes less powerful.

I am glad you felt a bit of peace after you disclosed here. I know that feeling of not being as afraid of it too. There will be hard times ahead as you work through this. It's not an easy route. But keep at it. We are all here on similar routes and we draw strength and courage from each other. Welcome to MS. Dave

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