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#73377 - 06/16/05 11:52 AM Re: The Other Little Boy Who Hurts (Triggers)
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Jasper,

I have read a lot of powerful posts here, but this one really got to me. I admire you for the courage you show in speaking about this.

You were a kid being abused by a family member who should have been protecting you. All this is his doing and not yours. I think almost any child frightened half to death like this would have reacted as you did. The way you thought about the situation was entirely determined by fear, and that is the emotion any child would have. You don't need to be forgiven by anyone. The only failure here was on the part of your older brother.

Paulie's feelings may be directed against you because he felt as a child that you should be protecting him. What he needs to see is that both of you were victims. Neither of you is at fault. If this can be presented to him in some way that doesn't invalidate his feelings at what happened, perhaps that would open up the possibility of you two working together on this.

All the best,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#73378 - 06/16/05 01:14 PM Re: The Other Little Boy Who Hurts (Triggers)
Rustam Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/27/04
Posts: 469
Loc: UK
Jasper,

Itís not your fault that you couldnít protect your brother. You were trying to cope with the impossible. Recently my brother who is 7 years younger than I and is in huge denial blamed me for leaving home while he was, in his words Ďgoing madí I sadly replied that I would have gone mad myself had I stayed there and that I would have been no help to him. I am sad to say that thatís true. When I was 19 years old I remember my dad after mum died telling my youngest brother 7 that he would sleep with him. My little brother cried and was so distressed, I felt crazy inside and was in too much denial and fear to face what was really happening. I wish it were otherwise.

One time when our mum was in a rage and we were hiding in sheds from her, I prayed that she would find someone else, when I heard my sisters cries I felt such relief and such guilt. I wish I was nobler, but I was a traumatised kid trying to live and avoid pain in a cruel brutal system. We all did what we could to survive, we were reacting to abuse we were not the abusers.

I would like to have seen myself as above the cruelty but that is asking too much of a child. I am sorry this wall exists between you and your brother, but itís not your fault; remember little Jasper and what he had to live through to survive, he deserves your understanding, he did nothing wrong.

Take care,
Peter.


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#73381 - 06/16/05 04:44 PM Re: The Other Little Boy Who Hurts (Triggers)
puppy Offline
Member

Registered: 05/28/05
Posts: 129
Loc: earth
its not your fault jasper.

my brother was 8 yrs older than me and he left when i was pretty young still. he knew what went on. i hated him for leaving me. but onc ei could understand it more, i knew he was just as scared as me and he wanted to protect me but just idnt know how.

_________________________
pUpPy

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#73383 - 06/17/05 01:23 PM Re: The Other Little Boy Who Hurts (Triggers)
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Jasper,

Reading your further post clarifies things a bit for me, and I have something to say that I have thought about long and hard. I really donít know whether I should go down this road, and I need to tell you these are just my personal thoughts.

Awhile back I started a thread (ďTelling my fatherĒ) about on a problem that was absolutely devouring me: should I tell my father what happened so many years ago? I was abused from the age of 11 until 14 by a man who worked with our Boy Scout troop, and he got me to shut up and let it continue by using the cruelest lies imaginable: I was a sissy and thatís how he knew I would do this, if I told I would be thrown out of the house and end up in an orphanage, nobody loves me except him and my parents keep me only because I was their only son, my father is furious with me (for reason x, y, or z) so I should go with him until things calm down at home, doing this to you shows I really am the only one who loves you, etc etc. By the time it all ended I was an emotional disaster, and back in those days there was nowhere to go and no one to talk to about such things. So I coped by burying everything and going into denial; I somehow convinced myself that nothing had happened and I really must stop worrying about those childish bad dreams. But by some twisted logic I was also blaming my Dad, who was and is a fantastic person and a wonderful father. I guess I needed somewhere for the anger and fear to go and wanted to know why me. So there it is: he should have protected me. I became extremely difficult and rebellious, way beyond the usual teenage troubles, and for years into adulthood I was emotionally cold and distant from him. I am still ashamed at all the times I rejected or ignored his endless gestures of love and support. Eventually our relationship was restored, almost entirely due to the wisdom and kindness of my wife, but I still did not understand why I had been such a prick.

When I posted on the question of whether or not I should tell my father, the issue hinged on the fact that he is 80 years old. He would be devastated, of course, and I know he would feel terrible that this had happened and he knew nothing about it. I might feel better, but what good would it do him?

How all this fit together I didnít figure out until I read your second post here. I was overpowered by your first post but I wasnít sure why. I was writing to you about things you might consider, but I wasnít seeing the truth about myself. I was a victim, it wasnít my fault. I donít need to be forgiven. My problems with my father go right back to the poison I got from my abuser. In order to keep things going he was trying to deprive me of the first lifeline I might have grabbed at. And my father was hurt as well. My abuser took away from him all those years of love and affection that the two of us should have had and which he richly deserved.

Before seeing your thread I had decided Ė more or less Ė that I will deal with this the next time I am back in the States. Both of my sisters know about what happened and both will be a great source of support. But now I am absolutely determined! Both my Dad and I were robbed. We are both victims, even today. He does need to hear what happened. He probably wonders to this day what he did wrong as a father. Answer: nothing! He needs to know that, and I need to tell him. Itís not just a way of telling that sick bastard: You lose. I donít know how long my father has Ė heís in better health than I am at the moment \:\) . But I canít allow him to pass away with that question on his heart. I owe him that.

You and Paulie are victims as well. Your older brother may have said things to keep you two from supporting each other, and going back and forth between you would already be enough to raise a barrier. You feel guilty because you are slightly older; Paulie may feel confused and angry for the same reason. But all of this is unresolved crap from childhood and the fault of someone else, not either of you two. You are both still being hurt even today, and as it happens, you are the one who is in a position to end it. That doesnít mean that it will be easy. There may be a lot of crap to work through, and of course in any one case it gets a lot more complicated than an outsider can understand.

On being gay, Iím not gay myself so I canít comment from that perspective. But sure, that may have something to do with it. Paulie may not understand that being gay is part of who you are and not some lifestyle you picked up one day. The hurt child Paulie may wonder if you were gay even as a little boy, which attracted the attention of your older brother, therefore you got things started, blah blah blah. All nonsense of course, but still Ė looks like there is a need to clear the air and do some honest talking here as well.

My huge fear here, Jasper, is that this is coming down as a way too heavy emotional post. There is always the chance, I guess, that an effort on your part could go badly wrong. I just donít know. All I can say is that thanks to your posts I know for sure what I have to do and why, and from what I can see it all fits your situation as well. But thatís only my guess. Maybe some of the moderators with some professional experience would have some comment.

Good luck!,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#73385 - 06/17/05 04:56 PM Re: The Other Little Boy Who Hurts (Triggers)
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Jasper,

Yes indeed, the dialogue is great and is helping me a lot. Thanks.

Just a quick comment on the theme of "how could they not have known". I had a huge dread of discovery. I was terrified beyond imagining at the possibility my parents would figure out what was happening; after all, I was being warned constantly of the awful consequences if they knew. My abuser's lies made sense because I was feeling more and more worthless anyway. I look back and I can't believe how vigilent I was. I had all the details covered. I invented stories about rough games in the woods or running into a tree and had them ready in advance in case I came home and needed to explain marks or bruises. I had places to stash spotted clothing until I could dash out and put it in the trash.

Another problem is that I don't think there was any real public awareness that this kind of thing was happening. I remember my parents really worrying and watching for things like polio in the summer, dogs that acted strange and might be rabid, etc. But sexuality? Ozzie and Harriet were in separate single beds and masturbating made you go blind. The possibility that something terrible could happen to your son just wasn't on the list.

This still seems to be a problem today. Michael Jackson got off, I think, because people still don't want to know. Several of our younger survivors talk about this. Puppy has some painful posts on it, and I think Charlie has some angry questions asking how his mother could not have known.

There is a lot of emphasis on watching out for danger to your children, and I don't think any man in his right mind would agree to babysit anymore. My wife and I talked to both of our kids about "bad touching". But when it comes to spotting when your child is being hurt, I think there is still almost no information or awareness. Or at least I haven't seen anything.

(Edited to add here that this is just a comment on Jasper's point about his parents not knowing; didn't mean to divert the thread off subject.)

Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

Top
#73388 - 06/18/05 03:36 PM Re: The Other Little Boy Who Hurts (Triggers)
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Jasper,

It sure does make sense. I was much the same I suppose. I fought for years to pretend nothing had happened, and even now the more I let go the more I discover how totally this has shaped my life. Every time I think I have conquered a little demon there seem to be ten more huge ones lining up. I would like to think Iím not pretending anymore, but even there Iím not sure. Denying everything didnít happen in a day, so I suppose facing it doesnít happen in a day either. The comparison to the iceberg Ė absolutely.

I guess sometimes it does take a traumatic event to make you accept reality. Or at least when you talk about that kind of thing it rings true with me. Iím not to the point where I can talk about it yet, except to say that for me the point of no return came when my father told me about a few boxes in a corner of the attic that I had stored away as a teenager.

It does seem to me that your brother Paulie is doing the same thing Ė he has denied everything and connecting with you is a threat to his ability to hold that all together. But no wonder. It isnít easier just because now he is an adult. And the fact is that both of you were hurt: neither of you is at fault and neither of you needs to be forgiven.

On the possibility that he was hurt the same way you were, who knows? But in all honesty, you say that your older brother came after one of you and then the other, and then hung around to ensure you didnít tell. Why would he have treated the two of you differently?

On what I will do concerning my own case, all that has become complicated again. Yesterday it was so clear to me, but last night I received an email from my sister Ė my rock! Ė and she had this to say:

Quote:

If you tell Dad, you are telling Mom. Dad would not be able to keep this from her. I'm still not sure how they would handle this at their age, it would change the rest of their lives till the day they die. I don't remember you as ever being cold or unkind to Dad... I remember you being like every other son going off to college in the 60's - 70's. Times then were horrible....remember the "generation gap", "the establishment" and other coined phrases? Mom and Dad struggled to hold on to stability in raising us (I was not the easiest to get along with as I remember) and we were interested in our music, civil rights, opposition to the Vietnam war, etc. They were traditional, you and I were cutting our own mold. It was an angry time. I don't really know of any real close Dad-Son relationships other than TV characters. I know Mom and Dad are extremely proud of you and love you unconditionally.
So perhaps this is all just my own sense of guilt and shame still messing with my head, even though I know I didnít do anything wrong.

Flashbacks: There is discussion on the DB now about handling them, and once again I realize how poorly I am coping. It astonished me that anyone can actually do that. When one of those things gets me I am back to 11 years old and not just seeing him right there, but feeling the cruelty and danger and worthlessness as if they were physical things there with him. I canít think of anything else and I just disintegrate.

If I ever do get back to a real decision about telling my father I know I would not be calling him on the telephone. I would want to be there with him and support him, and my sister is right: my mother is in the picture as well.

What hurts the most isn't even about me or any one person at all. It's how can anybody do this to a defenseless innocent child?

Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

Top
#73391 - 06/20/05 05:10 PM Re: The Other Little Boy Who Hurts (Triggers)
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Hi Jasper,

Thanks again for all your ideas and encouragement. I can see that you are absolutely right and next time let me help you get back up on the soapbox!

All this came up again today with a trusted friend of mine in my Faculty. We were sitting in a wonderful little cafe over a coffee and she asked me two things:

1. Wouldn't I want my own son, now 21, to tell me such a thing and ask for my help regardless of my age?

2. If I tell my Dad, aren't I basically rejecting the fear stuck in me by my abuser so many years ago and replacing it with the trust that every good Dad wants his son to have for him?

I suppose what I need to do now is remember my answers!

Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

Top
#73393 - 06/21/05 09:04 AM Re: The Other Little Boy Who Hurts (Triggers)
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Hi Jasper,

This one is off-topic but I think its important: your comments about heterophobia. Actually, I don't think its a phobia, it's a real apprehension. "Straight" men can be unbelievable hypocrites when it comes to sexuality. They may be accepting and accommodating to a gay guy's face, but see what happens when he leaves - pretty soon there will be remarks, jokes and so forth. And end of the day many straight men are nervous about having gay friends for fear of being labelled.

Here I will repeat what I said to another gay friend here in a PM: In many cases I find gay men more approachable and honest about their feelings than "straight" (whatever that means) men. I had a really good friend in university who is gay, and he was a housemate of mine. He came out and immediately began to get unbelievable crap from his parents ("I didn't know you could hate me this much", "Look what you are doing to your father", "We sacrificed everything and this is what we get?"). At university most of his friends ran for cover. So right at the time when he needed support the most he was abandoned on all sides. He is Jewish and I am Protestant and he is younger than I am, so I suppose at first he wasn't sure what to make of the fact that I wasn't snubbing him. But we soon became like older and younger brothers. A lot of the time all I could do was listen, since he was talking about things way out of my experience. But that seemed to help.

How close we had become came out when I won several national competitions for graduate students in the humanities. There was a huge fuss over all this in my department, but my friend's reaction meant the most to me. He told me that he appreciated that I had stuck with him even when people began to gossip about me as well, and that my support had gotten him through university. So he wanted to say thanks by taking me to see his New York. \:\) Gay shops, his gay synagogue, gay bookstores, his gay grocery store, gay bakery (? - never did figure that one out), gay bars, the whole thing, but during the day so I wouldn't get hit on or embarrassed too badly. Then in the evening, when we would absolutely have to get away from Christopher Street, he would take me to the best Chinese restaurant in Chinatown.

So off we went, and I have to say it was an amazing experience. I was totally in another world all day long, but I was always made to feel welcome. The humor and good spirit of the whole thing was constant: "This is my friend Larry - he's straight so don't even start". \:\) I don't know why, but the highlight of the day was this shop full of humorous gay greeting cards. I thought I would laugh myself into a fit. I kid you not - I was begging them to stop, I was hurting so much with laughter, but they kept showing me more cards.

From that year I learned a lot about cruelty, but also about tolerance and human relationships. My friend retaught me something I had learned from my Dad but denied for many years: that it is okay for a man to be vulnerable and emotional. I don't think that is a specifically "gay thing" (theme of much humor through that year), but I guess gay men are obliged to come to terms with it more directly in a world that can be very homophobic.

Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

Top
#73395 - 06/21/05 12:55 PM Re: The Other Little Boy Who Hurts (Triggers)
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Hi Jasper,

You are again catching me with all sorts of things I can't answer on the spur of the moment. I will have to think a bit, and as I say in another thread, one thing that is happening these days is that I find myself utterly overwhelmed by many things that I previously thought I had figured out.

For the moment, back to something else you asked: does my son know. No he doesn't. I told my wife first, then later my daughter, both privately and alone so we would not be disturbed. An opportunity to do that with my son has not arisen yet, largely because 1) he works long hours, and 2) he is young and lively with a full "social schedule", shall we say \:\) .

At one level I suppose the way I raised my son must have been affected by what happened to me, though by the time he was born I had been in denial for years. I remember being extremely protective, and when he was down with the usual very uncomfortable illnesses I took time off to be with him. I have always told him that my work is just "professor rubbish" and he can barge in anytime, and we have done a lot of things that have been just for him - camping, flying kites, swimming, "scary bones museums" (dinosaurs), and so forth. He has been with me on research trips all over the world and we have made scrapbooks of all the places he has been.

When he was a teen we had our blowups over all the usual things I think (who makes the rules, chores, curfew, etc.), but now I can see things improving again. He's a rock musician and we talk a lot about that and what his plans are.

So how me being a survivor affected him when he was small I just don't know. In his later teen years there have probably been difficulties, since trying to put denial behind me has dropped me into another world of troubles. But there too I just don't know.

Best wishes from sunny muggy Germany,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

Top
#73397 - 06/21/05 03:51 PM Re: The Other Little Boy Who Hurts (Triggers)
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Jasper,

Tell away! I didn't mean to be saying you are coming at me too fast. That's not it at all. It's just that I am finding it difficult to organize my thoughts sometimes.

I think the little boy's desperate need finally to tell his Dad is connected with the adult's grief at how staying quiet probably sealed the fate of many others. I don't feel guilt; i know it wasn't my fault. I can't describe it - just the grief that comes when you yourself know what all those later kids suffered.

For the little boy everything ended in 1960. Even stopping the abuse some years later didn't help because after that the agenda was for him to be ignored and willed into nonexistence by Big Larry so he could get on with his life. The adult feels for all those hurt and frightened kids and wishes there had been something he could have done. But that was then and this is now, and there is still one little boy standing right here and saying, hey...you can still help me.

Hope that makes sense, and a million apologies if I am freaking anyone out. I really am just overwhelmed.

Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

Top
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