I hid my fears, my insecurities, the truth of my pain and shame all my life. I honestly had the plan to take my burden to the grave. I used that phrase a lot. I couldn't say the words, "I was molested" aloud. I couldn't say them in my head. I couldn't let my mind touch on those memories from my childhood. Never. I used coded words to allude to the secrets in my heart, but I couldn't even begin to make sense of them myself. That was true until I cheated on my wife. The idea that I would cheat on my wife... and on my family... and truly on myself... was almost more than I could take. I almost killed myself, and maybe I would have, but I was too afraid of my secrets. I couldn't stand the idea of my secrets coming out after I was gone. I couldn't stand the idea of my wife and my kids looking over my life and seeing this stranger instead of the man I wanted to be. And I couldn't bear the idea of leaving my wife and kids alone in this world. I love them too much.

The most psycho part of my secrets, and of my fucking idiotic affair, was that I brought someone else into my world of shame. I didn't tell the "other woman" about my abuse. God, no. But I did allow her into my secret world. Honestly, she kind of forced her way in, but I'm the one who allowed it to happen.

But the fucked up thing is that she then forced me to openly confront both the affair and my past. And actually, she was a rape victim, who I think chose to victimize people as a way to "help herself," or some fucking nonsense. Anyway, she told me a bunch of times that she was dangerous, that she was manipulative, that she was a liar. She'd brag to me about what a good liar she was. Anyway, her husband found out about the affair. I told my wife, in the most stupid and halting way, and I lied 20 times before she got the truth out of me. But anyway, I knew then that I was going to lose my family and lose the life I wanted, and that the only chance I had was to get therapy. And so I did. And thank god I did. It probably took me three or four weeks of therapy, maybe more, until I blurted out one night the fact of the abuse when I was a kid.

And since then I've struggled to stay on the road to healing. I don't mean that I struggled not to have another affair or cheat on my wife. But it's a constant struggle for me to avoid creating little shameful pockets in my life. It's a struggle for me to embrace myself, to allow myself to love myself. It's hard for me to avoid using my history of abuse to dodge accountability for the shitty things I've done. Those things are very difficult.... But I keep my eye on the my goal, which is to be the man I want to be in my life. I want to be a loving and solid father and a dependable and excellent, loving partner. Those are my goals. And I don't have room in my life for any other bullshit.

Good luck to you, by the way. It's not enough for anyone to just "admit" the fact of abuse, at least not in my experience. My goal is to express true emotion. And if you've dealt with untrue stuff as much as I have, you know the truth when you say it and when you feel it. It's possible to connect your words with yourself. And I promise that it's one of the most satisfying things there is. It's definitely worth the trouble, and it does require a lot of hard work.

Bob