For me, my identity conflict wasn't a result of my abuse; rather, it contributed to my abuse. My identity conflict made me feel like I didn't identify with men/boys nor did I really identify with women/girls. I was lost, alone and extremely vulnerable and like all little boys, I needed a man's guidance, attention, love, affection, affirmation and valuation of my worth. I didn't get it and my identity conflict caused adult men in my life to shun me to a certain extent which is exactly the opposite of what I needed. If anything, I needed more attention/affirmation than a so-called normal boy which I no longer see as "wrong" but just my way of being.

Instead of getting attention and love and truly getting shunned and shamed, I was extremely vulnerable to predators. A predator found me and took me in my confusion and only added to it by sexually molesting me and leading me to believe that it was what I wanted, it was my doing, I contributed to it (since it felt good) and that it was some form of answer to my problem about not feeling connected. After that abuse, I thought my connection to men was through sex and I spent much of my teenage years being abused but not realizing it.

I devised a odd, secret, private world of thinking I was getting my needs met by acting out sexually in one compartment of my life, trying to act like a regular guy in another compartment of my life and in another compartment, having (too) many female confidants/friends. No one knew me, no one knew I was being used sexually, no one knew how many different facets of life I was juggling. I worked hard to control what everyone knew about me, and I had no intimate friends. It gradually crashed over the years and it had to happen and now I'm finally putting all the compartments into one full picture.

I write this to identify with the gender identity issues that some of us (but definitely not all of us) share. I am in this particular group of men on here. I was ashamed of this fact but I am not anymore. I am one of those very sensitive boys who suffered the shame of being very sensitive and being looked at as less than because of it. I took a mental path that told me that secretly I was actually better than other men due to my sensitive nature but that was wrong, too. Its not better or worse, it just is and that is what I work toward - self acceptance and self worth. (An aside - I do wonder if this extra-sensitivity is some sort of mechanism developed early in life to let me hide out from perceived male rejection and loll in my feelings and find some sort of superiority to avoid feeling rejected.)

This identity issue stuff is very difficult and full of land mines, internal and external. Many people have opinions on how to be a man and it can be awfully hard to find your own values, own voice if from an early age, people, especially men, were basically telling you that your voice, your perspective, is wrong and worthless. Talk about creating self-doubt! Being sensitive is also considered a somewhat feminine value so of course there was some comfort-seeking in that refuge of women but it wasn't really satisfying and it only contributed to more disdain from men. It was a cycle of hate from the outside that became confusion inside and then a recreation of the hate cycle in my life. Ugh. I feel like this last paragraph was messy but I like I leave it as is.

I have my experience with this issue and I am just adding my voice (again).
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And more, much more, the heart may feel,
Than the pen may write or the lip reveal.
Winthrop Mackworth Praed