Why me? What have I done to deserve this?
When dealing with issues of pain from childhood sexual abuse, people handle it in different ways; being a man I can only tell you the struggles a boy and man goes though. Initially the greatest struggle was just in finding a resource for help to work through the psychological and emotional trauma. With most abuse happening to women, it only goes to reason that the majority of available support is directed toward them. But it is out there, you might have to look a little harder for it but its there…thus the increase in groups like “Together We Heal” and “SNAP”. But once found, the next steps can be even more challenging.
If the abuse occurs as a young boy and at the hands of a man, you struggle with the confusion of being aroused. While we may learn that physiologically there is virtually no way to stop an erection and even ejaculation, it does not diminish the damage done. As a boy or man you begin to question your sexuality. How could I have been aroused by this disgusting act? When you combine this with the still long-held homophobic rhetoric voiced by so many, the confusion gets compounded and magnified. For myself, I “proved” my sexuality throughout college by having sex with as many women as I could. While this bolstered my ego, and reputation with the guys, all it really did was hurt many of the girls and further hinder my ability to get at the root of my own pain.
When having promiscuous sex was not enough to keep my hurt and pain deep down enough in my psyche, I turned to drugs. With drugs, I could numb myself to the point where I not only didn’t feel any pain, I didn’t feel anything, except the high of the particular narcotic of the day. But as any addict will tell you, the more you do, the more you have to do to try to get the same level of high. The only problem is you never do get that again. So at this point I was simply doing as much as I could until I would pass out, coming close to overdosing on several occasions and eventually getting locked up twice and spending a month in jail for a conviction of drug possession. It was the best thing that could have happened and quite probably saved my life. In having my freedom taken away, I realized finally where my life was headed if I didn’t stop taking drugs and so I went to NA and got the help I needed to get clean..and have remained so for seven years now.
Once I got clean I had a whole new problem…I had to finally face all of these painful emotions without any filters, without any buffers…I had to face life on life’s terms…and life, for most of us, isn’t kind and isn’t nice. It’s hard, and when you aren’t tough emotionally or mentally, you don’t handle this easily. It was only with the support of an amazing family and equally incredible friends that I have been able to process this pain and conflict and be able to finally stand on my own two feet again..now with a clean mind and body.
This doesn’t mean that I am not still haunted daily by the memories of molestation, it just means that now I have the tools to handle this battle. Frederick Douglass was quoted as saying, “it’s easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” This has been true in my life. The damage done by my abuser, Frankie Wiley, was so terrible, that the positive done to build me up the first 12 yrs. of my life, he destroyed in just 2, and it’s taken 30 to just BEGIN to get my life back on the right track. Due to this derailing of my youth, I now have fewer years left on this earth to do what my creator intended for me. So I am going to spend what time I have left to do my best to 1) prevent what happened to me from happening from other children and 2) help other survivors get to the place of healing that I am now at and even further.
This is my hope. And by that word I don’t mean what I wish for to happen, I mean it’s what I know, count on and expect to happen…the original meaning of the word hope. Look it up. I have hope to help others, I have hope that they will heal, I have hope to protect children…I now have a future that was once denied me due to a sexual predator. And you too can have this hope, this expectation, this new future…just reach out and you will find us here for you.
You can count on it!
December 8, 2012 at 7:30 pm
Thank you for talking about it so openly. This subject has been taboo for so long 😦
December 8, 2012 at 7:34 pm
I feel it’s the only way we can truly help others is to let them know they are not alone…and if that means I need to bare my soul so another survivor can see that, then I will do it…no matter what anyone thinks. I know how alone I felt for 30 years and I don’t want anyone to have to feel like that. We are here to help all survivors. Thank you for your kind and encouraging words!
December 31, 2012 at 3:05 pm
I am so encouraged to hear back about my blog. I hope it continues to help any and all that read. I will be posting new articles in the next 3-4 weeks. I am attending a national seminar on CSA and I will be coming back with some great info! Be on the lookout! :o)
December 8, 2012 at 11:47 pm
Thank you! i was sexually abuse for my entire childhood my an uncle. My earliest memories start at 6 years old but have recently discovered that it really started at the age of 3. It lasted until I was 18 and out of high school. And your right about the confusion as to why I felt aroused and ejaculate with something so horrible. I was so confused during the entire time it was happening. It must have happened hundreds of times over so many years as we were together nearly every week growing up. The confusion was exacerbated because I felt he was the only person who loved me and after it ended I was lost and felt completely unworthy to be loved, even by myself. Also during this time my father physically, verbally and emotionally abused me and my mother was too afraid of him to do anything about it.
Your response to your abuse I have read about many times. It makes me wonder why I didn’t respond that way. I think it’s because I turned so far inward and was punishing myself so deeply that I was already getting more than I deserved. I pretty much stayed away from girls, made no friends, didn’t drink or smoke or use drugs. I just closed myself off from the world.
I didn’t start to get help until my late 40s and am now nearly 60. I had told myself a long time ago that if I reached the age of 60 and still felt as bad about myself that I would end my life. So if I followed through with my pledge I would only have a little over 3 months left. I am now getting wonderful help from the most amazing therapist I could possible hope to have found.
I do have good things in my life and am finally beginning to see them. I have been happily married for 39 years. I have 2 well adjusted grown children, a granddaughter and another on the way. The new baby is due just before my birthday so I feel I will need to be here for her. I have a job that I am currently in my 35th year. We own our own house, pets and have 2 horses we ride regularly. I could go on but I think you get the picture.
Thank you for allowing this forum to tell my story and the fact that I am finally getting well.
December 9, 2012 at 12:36 am
Thank you for the willingness to open up and share your experiences. I believe with all my heart, that the more survivors that read and hear our stories, they will realize they are not alone in the feelings and struggles they are going through. And by hearing different ways of how we made it through, they too can do the same. I know you probably won’t accept the monicker “courageous”…but by being so honest you have shown much courage and I thank you. Not for me, but for the other survivors out there whose story may be more like yours…and in making that connection with you, they can see a way to survive, to heal and to thrive. I simply cannot thank you enough for speaking out about what you went through and please know that in addition to your therapist, I am here for you as well. Peace be with you.
December 9, 2012 at 12:47 am
Thank you! Now I only need to really believe what you have said. I still struggle with my self-worth, guilt and shame. I have begun sharing my story with others because I think it’s time to stop being quiet, but then regret creeps in. However I have decided that my mission is to heal those who have had such terrible experiences. Having that mission is what keeps me going.
December 9, 2012 at 1:03 am
Well I know that you can believe me when I say, “I understand what you are going through”, since we have been through the same type of abuse. And like you, my abuse occurred at the hands of someone I knew, loved and trusted…which made it all that much worse. And I know the guilt and shame…but remember, we were not the ones to blame, we didn’t want this and we did not have the ability or capability of making it stop…no matter what we may tell ourselves sometimes. They used their power over us to steal our innocence, our childhood…it’s why I call sexual predators, “serial killers that leave their victims alive”…because they take so much from us. But we can have a rebirth by doing exactly what you talked about. I, like yourself, have found a calling of sorts to look after those that don’t have anyone to take care of them…to be the voice for those who have lost theirs…just like you and I did for so long. And I would be honored if you would like to work together, in whatever way we can…to help other survivors work through the same struggles we did..and still do. Because I am sure if you are like myself, it never goes away, it just helps me heal by helping others. And if ever those thoughts you mentioned start to creep back in your head…don’t hesitate to email me or call me anytime, day or nite – firstname.lastname@example.org – 754.234.7975 – and my name is David Pittman. I am here for anyone and that includes you 🙂 that needs help to heal, because like I said, I get just as much help for myself by helping others. You have my word. I am here.
January 20, 2013 at 8:28 am
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February 4, 2013 at 2:30 pm
Hello, together. Just tagged this awesome blog on my blog. AbuseSurvingThriving and I are having a Healing from Sexual Abuse Retreat, if you want either of us to do a post on it. I can email you details, or you can email me at email@example.com
February 7, 2013 at 9:58 pm
Hey Jodi! Please email me the details at firstname.lastname@example.org – thanks, Dave