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#71968 - 09/26/03 01:49 PM Living amidst the wreckage of the past
dwf Offline
Moderator/BoD Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/24/03
Posts: 1223
Loc: Austin, Texas USA
This phrase is stolen from AA, who probably purloined it from someone else. That's OK, good things like that, which capture a truth in a sort of sardonic, succinct way are too expressive to belong to one group or person alone.

Then there's the variation "Living in the wreckage of the future". A good way to sum up all the fantasizing and projecting of disastrous consequences of probably actions that might be taken in reaction to someone or something I have yet to encounter.

I've done quite a bit of both of these modes of living, especially in resaction to the experience of being sexually abused by a member of the faith community in which I grew up. The man who abused me was named Sam Jackson. He was a prominent Baha'i, who took me under his wing at the age of 15 when we met at a Baha'i Summer Camp near Lewisville Texas.

He was 55 or so. I was at the end of 15. He seduced me, then sent me a plane ticket to come up to eventually live with him in Chicago. I left my home, such as it was, shortly after my 16th birthday.

We were both very devoted Baha'is. Teaching, travelling, attending National Conventions. He served on the Baha'i Assembly. I was a prodigal son type. At night, alone, he had sex with me. During the day, with others, he was the paternal, in loco parentis, I believe is the phrase he used.

I am today still a member of the Baha'i Faith. A faith which unequivocably condemns homosexuality.

Being a gay man, who was sexually abused by a coreligionist, has led to much damage and destruction, much 'wreckage' in my past. It continues to a lesser extent these days even when I am actively taking measures to ameliorate the condition of my mental and emotional health.

It is not an easy task. Definitely not for the faint hearted or weak of stomach. It's hard as hell.

Several years of therapy, lots of medication, intense physical, mental and emotional distress are just a part of the price I have had to pay for the abusers use of my body.

How many tears have been shed? How much anguish and sorrow have eroded the edges of my hope?

I am still living in that wreckage of the past.

I am still a member of that community of believers in which I was sexually abused. The homophobia that accompanies the prohibition of homosexual activity in the Baha'i religion continues to be an oppressive, harmful force in my life.

It continues because I allow it. Because I am afraid to leave it, lest I lose my mortal soul.
Which is impossible for me to lose having spent the best parr of my life trying to lose it and anything else that reminded me of the years of sexual exploitation, the shame, the guilt and the secrecy of living with a perpetrator.

Today the fear of rejection by my male partner inhibits the development of a loving, trusting relationship. The fear of being "found out" by my coreligionists brings memories of shame and guilt to poison the atmosphere of intimacy we are producing together.

It is one of the hardest things to do but I must leave the community of my faith in order to leave the wreckage of the past of my abuse.

To continue in this way guarantees additional harm will be done to me. My shrink and my therapist and my friends and most importantly my heart tell me that I cannot continue to live this way.

Yet, it is so hard to do. I keep looking for the right way, the right words, the right time.

I don't know if there is a right or wrong way to save one's own life. The time it takes to debate it might also be the time it takes to live or die.

I have been a Baha'i since I was 15. I have served and taught and shared and helped and travelled all over the world. And now I will leave that behing, I hope.

It is such a difficult thing to do, but I cannot continue to live where being gay is a sin, an abomination and something to be feared and rejected.

I do not and cannot find any comfort there, so I must go where I can.

If you believe in prayer, please say one for me today. If you do not, then please send me your good thoughts.

My heart is broken. My spirit is heavy.

Yet I know that this I must do.

I leave behind the structure of the faith that helped keep me a prisoner of sexual abuse for so long.

I hope that the true spirit of love and unity that attracted me in the beginning will continue to accompany me as I go forward. May God bless us all.

With much sorrow and hope,

Your brother,

_________________________
"Poke salad Annie, 'gators got you granny
Everybody said it was a shame
'Cause her mama was aworkin' on the chain-gang"

-Tony Joe White

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#71969 - 09/26/03 02:25 PM Re: Living amidst the wreckage of the past
outis Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 2260
Loc: Maryland USA
Danny,

I wish there were some way I could bring something better to you than the situation you face today. You know in your heart what you have to do to be true to yourself and to God. I really wish I had a way to make this easier on you.

Remember that you have support, at home, in the wider community, and here with us.

I'm praying for you.

Your brother back East,

Joe

_________________________
"Telemachos, your guest is no discredit to you. I wasted no time in stringing the bow, and I did not miss the mark. My strength is yet unbroken…"—The Odyssey, translated by W.H.D. Rouse

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#71970 - 09/27/03 01:20 PM Re: Living amidst the wreckage of the past
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Danny
You're only turning your back on the structure of your religion, and some apects that you can't live with for any longer.

You're not turning you back on being a spiritual person who holds strong values and morals - the same as every religion I know espouses.

Elvis might have left the building, but we listen to him every day.

Dave ;\)

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#71971 - 10/01/03 10:44 AM Re: Living amidst the wreckage of the past
Andrew Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/25/03
Posts: 1192
Danny, this is a no brainer. Once you have made the move, I am absolutely certain that you will start to find your life makes more sense. Lloydy is so right. You are not turning your back on spirituality or God, you are turning your back on ignorance and oppression. The church let you down, not the other way around. I will pray for you, and it will be to the one and only God who couldn't care less who you sleep with. I will also pray for the folks in your former religion who are living in such a bigoted doctrine. I am sorry for them. Peace, Andrew

_________________________
there is no courage without anxiety

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#71972 - 10/01/03 01:07 PM Re: Living amidst the wreckage of the past
Mike Church Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 01/23/03
Posts: 3439
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Danny: Everyone here is right.

The important thing in your equation is you and the relationship you are developing. That is the basis of the human condition. You do not have to be a member of this religion or that or indeed that to understand the truth of being a kind, gentle, loving and caring person. Nor does God or your higer power. Remember all religions are run by humans and they certainly bring their own slant to things. Included in this are the prejudices and fears.

Danny you are a child of the being and as such you deserve as your right all the happiness you can enjoy.

Remember Danny if is fear of the unknown that holds us back and the fear of losing the familiar.

Once again the important thing is that whatever action you are taking it is done so to continue the healing process.

Your brothers here are all with you!!!

_________________________
Mikey

IT REALLY IS OK TO STUMBLE. NONE OF US ARE PERFECT.

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#71973 - 10/02/03 08:41 AM Re: Living amidst the wreckage of the past
dwf Offline
Moderator/BoD Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/24/03
Posts: 1223
Loc: Austin, Texas USA
Thanks, guys, for all the support and good words.

It really is a big help to me. I saw my shrink yesterday and we discussed this subject at length.

I jokingly asked him if he would give me a doctor's excuse for leaving the Baha'i Faith; since he and my therapist and my friends all tell me how injurious this experience continues to be to me. He laughed and said what I already knew.

That this is something that I get to decide. That it is solely (or perhaps soully \:\) ) up to me.

I guess that I need to talk about this need or want of mine to give up control of my life to someone or something else. At least part of this penchant seems to derive from the sexually abusive relationship with a father-figure type when I was an adolescent.

Since I was psychologically and emotionally incapable of having any good judgement about our sexual conduct and its subsequent consequences, I simply reacted to his needs and desires. Sure some of them meshed with mine. After all, I was a 15 year old boy with a healthy and developing physical sexual urge. My body responded even though my heart and my mind didn't understand what was happening.

I simply put all that stuff, like the sex and thes strong emotions around it, in a part of my mind where I only went at night when the men who sexually abused me. I kept the rigid, uptight, homophobic, socially acceptable front on my face and the sex and feelings hidden away, even from myself.

This dynamic has reproduced itself many times over in my life. I have always found a new abuser in some sense of the word. Now I believe that my faith in some sense is fulfilling the role of the perpetrator in my life. It is willing for me to shove aside all my wants, needs, desires and simply obey what suits it.

There is some resistance in me to moving out of this sick dynamic. It has the big advantage of being familiar...it's miserable but familiar. The alternative of leaving and seeking a new understanding of my relationship with God is scary and unknown.

I guess I wanted to say this so that anyone else facing this kind of choice knows that it is very common to have these types of "mixed" feelings about something that seems so cut-and-dried as leaving an abusive relationship, whether it is with a partner, religion, job, man or woman.

I know that I can do this. I also know that I cannot do it alone. That's why I'm so grateful for all the friends and supporters who now know the truth about what happened to me as a Baha'i youth.

I wrote a part of my life story and sent it out to about 20 of my friends and family. The response has been so heartwarming. Most of the people I know do not want me to suffer any longer.

They desire happiness and fulfilment for me. They have shared that desire with me. It is of immense help when the lure of the familiar of the status quo wants to keep me stuck. Don't rock the boat, is what kept me floating for many, many years as the effects of the sexual abuse continued unstaunched to contaminate my life.

Now I'm ready to rock the boat, turn the goddamned the thing over and break the oars, if that's what it takes to get beyond this abusive cycle in my being.

I'm finally feeling the anger, the betrayal, the lies, and the sadness of being told that I am wrong, that because I am gay that I am less of a human being than any other straight person. That because of my sexual orientation I cannot be what God wants me to be.

I would say that this is the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, but that would be a lie.
The hardest thing I've ever done was to endure in silence the devestating effects of sexual abuse.

I never want to do that again. And so today, I will choose the unknown consequences of speaking out and moving beyond the wrecked facade of my life into new meaning and new discovery no matter how scared I am.

Now, I know that I am not alone.

And that fact alone makes all the difference.

Thanks, guys and women, for all the love.

I admit I'm still trying to find the "perfect" way to do this. The "right" words, the "exact" scenario, the "best" thing for everyone involved, but that too will pass when the time is right because I am not in this thing alone anymore. God is with me too and I know that because he speaks to me through loving friends like you.

With love,

Your brother,

_________________________
"Poke salad Annie, 'gators got you granny
Everybody said it was a shame
'Cause her mama was aworkin' on the chain-gang"

-Tony Joe White

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#71974 - 10/02/03 09:30 AM Re: Living amidst the wreckage of the past
crisispoint Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/24/03
Posts: 2154
Loc: Massachusetts
Danny,

I agree with what everyone has said. I can't put it any better.

I am a Catholic, and it's been hard to cut the cord with a religion that I feel is wrong on so many levels, but if that is what you must do, than do so. Remember, though, that you are not cutting off what gave you the strength throughout your life.

I pray for you, my brother. Be at peace. You made the right decision to survive.

Scot

_________________________
There are reasons I'm taking medication. They're called "other people." - Me, displaying my anti-social tendancies

fromacuriousmind.blogspot.com
malehurtandsurvive.blogspot.com

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#71975 - 10/02/03 11:10 AM Re: Living amidst the wreckage of the past
outis Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 2260
Loc: Maryland USA
Danny,
Quote:
That it is solely (or perhaps soully \:\) ) up to me.
Ever notice your HP answering your questions and settling your doubts through your own words?

Last month in MN I attended the preparation workshop for the Sweatlodge. I don't know what verb to use for the Sweatlodge itself, I guess I "joined in prayer." It was not a traditional Roman Catholic ceremony.

It was a powerful experience. It affected my relationship with God and my relationship with myself. I was part of the group in the lodge and the experience was social and communal, yet personal.

That night I changed. I believe that the personal connection to the Creator is more important than the selection of cult for worship. That's no different; I have always believed that. I'm not able to elucidate the nature of the changes in me. I just know that I am different. Certainly the changes in me have altered how I experience worship within Catholicism.

My point is that the difference is in me. My response to God/HP/Creator's offer comes from me, from who and what I am. I believe that your response comes out of you.

You have the personal strength to be true to yourself, to the Creator's plan for you. That honesty is itself the gateway to the greatest gift that He can give to all of us through you.

Thanks for being here,

Joe

_________________________
"Telemachos, your guest is no discredit to you. I wasted no time in stringing the bow, and I did not miss the mark. My strength is yet unbroken…"—The Odyssey, translated by W.H.D. Rouse

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