I don’t know just exactly how I started searching on the Internet, but ever since I first logged onto the NOMSV web site a week or so ago a lot has happened. I’d had this gnawing feeling somewhere down inside for about a year and a half that I couldn’t quite understand...and I couldn’t shake it. I felt that I was disconnected from my self, and there was always this underlying feeling of being unsettled.
As someone who is always “in control,” I was able to do all of my regular things, such as work, mow the lawn, participate in community activities, etc, but I felt that I just wasn’t “together” somehow. But inside, the pot was simmering. The inner spiritual peace that I’d enjoyed for several years (as differentiated from “religion,” by the way) had been replaced with doubt about who I am, what I’m here to do, and I wondered many times if I were “losing it.”
Something else was different. I started questioning my sexual identity. I would visit gay pornographic web sites, and what started as some passing curiosity on an infrequent basis became a regular occurrence. I began acting out sexually (masturbation). I felt I was coming apart at the seams. This has continued for months.
It was when my therapist asked an innocent question (“What would it be like for you to stay in your current job and make it work for you?) that somehow got the wheels turning. I began wondering, “why all of this internal churning? What is simmering inside?” Then I put two and two together (and for the first time in a long time, I didn’t come up with five as the answer!). Could this in any way be related to my childhood sexual abuse? (Duh.)
The wheels began turning even more at a subconscious level and one day a week or two ago, this thought emerged an an “Aha!” I began in earnest to search for information. By some miracle, I found my way to an article on the Internet that listed some of the typical characteristics of men who had been sexually abused as boys. Gazooks....there I was in that list! Omigod....
Then, as the Universe does so amazingly well, I was somehow guided to the NOMSV web site. And it is here that I have felt for the first time in my life that others understand.
My wife (of almost 28 years) knows about my childhood sexual abuse. When I first “remembered” it eight or ten years ago, she, too, was dealing with her own childhood sexual abuse (incest). We cried together and knew that (as a marriage counselor had told us many years before) it was no accident that we’d found one another! I have also talked with her about this most recent “Aha,” and she has been wonderful. That we could discuss this (and that she continues to love me anyway!) is, itself, a wonderful blessing.
But never the one to “let it be,” I have trying so hard in the last week or so to “remember” more details about the actual sexual abuse. I recall that I was not yet five years old. The brother of one of my dad’s air force buddies was transferred to the base on which we were stationed, and my folks had him over to dinner occasionally (the single man many miles for home scenario). His name was Jack. I cannot for the life of me see his face, nor would I necessarily recognize him if he were to knock on my door today. I don’t really know how old he was at the time, but I’m guessing that he probably was in his early twenties. (I’ve already confessed that sometimes I add 2 and 2 and don’t necessarily come up with 4!)
Jack would babysit for us sometimes when my folks would go out for the evening. I had a brother a year younger, and a sister four years younger...which would make her about 6-8 months old. After my folks would leave and the others were in bed, Jack would take me into one of the bedrooms in the dark. I’ve been trying hard to remember the surroundings, but no clear image emerges.
What I do recall is that Jack would most often be wearing a gray or green jumpsuit-like garnent that I think were called fatigues. These were the work clothes for airmen, I guess. There were metal buttons from the crotch to the neck. Jack would open the buttons to his fatigues and would guide my hand to his penis. I remember only fuzzy things about this...probably because I am too ashamed or it is too painful.
I remember his smell, and I can remember that his penis was huge (in contrast to my little itty bitty tool). He had lots of hair, too. While I would hold his penis, he would be stroking mine. Sometimes he would lick it with the tip of his tongue. I can remember liking this...and, at the same time, knowing it was wrong because we had to be very secretive about it. Sometimes my brother woudl get out of bed and come looking for us and we’d have to quickly make it look as though we were doing something else. (Although, in retrospect, what the f--k would we be doing in the dark behind closed doors!)
I know that this stuff happened more than once. My sense is that it went on for at least a few months. I believe that Jack’s temporary assignment was ended and he returned from whence he came. And we moved across the base to a new apartment and Don went on with his life.....
But, of course, in retrospect, I’m seeing that I was never the same again. I have more questions than answers, of course. Could this abuse be one explanation for the fact that I sucked my thumb and simultaneously held my penis for years afterward? Could this be why I have been so preoccupied with whether my dick was big enough? Thick enough? Did I have enough hair around my balls? On my chest? Would I be adequate enough to satisfy a woman someday? Would I ever be able to father children?
The guys who have told their stories on this web site have been forthcoming about their own traumas, their doubts, their struggles. It is because of their honesty in sharing their pain that I have been able to confront these demons and to bring them out into the light. Sure, there’s work ahead for me, but knowing I have the love and support of my wife, as well as encouragement from my NOMSV brothers, I am optimistic for the first time in years.
Thanks for giving me a second chance at life!