Abused becoming abuser??

Mikeyk954

New Registrant
I see on TV and in movies the idea of the sexually abused growing up and becoming an abuser themselves. Does anyone know about this phenomenon? Is it as common as movies indicate? Why does it happen?

ive not become an abuser but interested in knowing more about it.
Also, I’ve been having sexual dreams about my abuser. Dreams about Consensual sexual contact with him and wishing he had used a different manner of abuse such as coaxing sexual activity rather than attacking me while I was sleeping.

I hope it’s ok to post these thoughts, feelings and questions. Just really confused.
 

Nerds52

Registrant
Usually, the child or adult sufferer makes themselves a promise that they will never become like their abuser. But the problem is that abusers often express themselves in ordinary ways. So it's a grab bag of which behaviour the abused makes the promise about. And they may very well deny themselves something valid and needful. Leaving them crippled. And handicapped. And therefore more likely to become overwhelmed and disfunctional, in the end, making their chances of becoming an abuser ever so slightly of a bit higher. Not much at all really. But that is the internal process along the way
 
I was traumatized as a young boy by a three generation family that lived on three sides of my family's home. I was introduced to that world by young boys whose play was sexual... as happens when children are themselves sexually abused. Eventually I came to the attention of the grandfather, but it was one of his sons who raped me when I was 7. That journey into hell began when I was 3 and I was just curious about what these older boys were doing. I wish I'd never found out.

It was only as an adult that I came to a clear picture of what happened. The grandfather built three homes directly behind his own home, one for each of this three sons. My family was told the son who owned the middle of those three homes defaulted on his loan. Of late I've been musing about the possibility he defaulted to get away from his father. This was a family enterprise and using younger children was the norm. They were a good Catholic family that went to church every Sunday and there were a great many grandchildren available for dads and grand dad to enjoy. I wouldn't be surprised if those boys continued the family tradition but sadly, I don't remember their name so calling the local police department... which I did, was fruitless. It was a good thing to do nonetheless.

Men and boys who sexually use children and teens have invariably been sexualized by their own trauma. I came close to doing something with a younger boy but his mother appeared on the scene before anything could happen. I was 11 or 12 and it was not some desperate attack but simply a form of play to me... that is how it can begin. Honestly, I was so young when these things happened that I forgot everything about it. My sexual acting out took different forms that were also rooted in trauma I experienced at home as an infant.

It is important that recognizing perpetrators have themselves been traumatized doesn't excuse their behavior. They need to be stopped and brought to justice. Perhaps once their behaviors are brought to light, they too can find support for healing... though I wouldn't count on the criminal justice system investing in treatment. This is a very sad world for all of us, but we've found our way here and have the chance to heal.
 
When others accuse men who have been through sexual abuse as children as inevitable abusers themselves, this is called vampire syndrome. And it is a myth. While, as Visitor points out, almost all men who abuse have been abused themselves, only a very few men who have been abused go on to abuse others.

I should also point out that only men are ever accused as being inevitable abusers due to their own abuse. Girls are also abused, but it is never assumed that they will grow up to be abusers - which just shows you how wrong the myth really is.
 

Seagull

Registrant
This is a very insidious myth and one that keeps many men from seeking help or even speaking of their abuse.
I cannot think of any other crime where the victim is looked at as a possible future criminal. It is never assumed, for example, that a victim of a mugging will be more likely to commit that crime themselves.
But this myth is also perpetuated by abusers who seek to escape justice and responsibility for their crimes. They claim an irresistible and uncontrollable chain of cause and effect that lead to their actions. They claim victimhood , and therefore they were unable to not do what they did.
Before we accept that all abusers were once victims, we should remember that all abusers will say anything to escape justice.
 

Seagull

Registrant
I was traumatized as a young boy by a three generation family that lived on three sides of my family's home. I was introduced to that world by young boys whose play was sexual... as happens when children are themselves sexually abused. Eventually I came to the attention of the grandfather, but it was one of his sons who raped me when I was 7. That journey into hell began when I was 3 and I was just curious about what these older boys were doing. I wish I'd never found out.

It was only as an adult that I came to a clear picture of what happened. The grandfather built three homes directly behind his own home, one for each of this three sons. My family was told the son who owned the middle of those three homes defaulted on his loan. Of late I've been musing about the possibility he defaulted to get away from his father. This was a family enterprise and using younger children was the norm. They were a good Catholic family that went to church every Sunday and there were a great many grandchildren available for dads and grand dad to enjoy. I wouldn't be surprised if those boys continued the family tradition but sadly, I don't remember their name so calling the local police department... which I did, was fruitless. It was a good thing to do nonetheless.

Men and boys who sexually use children and teens have invariably been sexualized by their own trauma. I came close to doing something with a younger boy but his mother appeared on the scene before anything could happen. I was 11 or 12 and it was not some desperate attack but simply a form of play to me... that is how it can begin. Honestly, I was so young when these things happened that I forgot everything about it. My sexual acting out took different forms that were also rooted in trauma I experienced at home as an infant.

It is important that recognizing perpetrators have themselves been traumatized doesn't excuse their behavior. They need to be stopped and brought to justice. Perhaps once their behaviors are brought to light, they too can find support for healing... though I wouldn't count on the criminal justice system investing in treatment. This is a very sad world for all of us, but we've found our way here and have the chance to heal.
Tha child was very lucky that his mother happened to come in when she did
 
You're right Seagull. Actually there were three of us in the foxhole we'd dug in a field near our homes... my best friend who was a little older than me, and a neighbor boy a few years younger. I had no plan, it was just play. I have no idea what I would have done or how the younger boy would have responded nor do I know how my friend would have reacted. It could have been innocent and it could have been traumatic. I'm glad his mother appeared. I have a vague memory of her expression and she was concerned. She was a good mother... I wish I could have relied on my mother protecting me, but alas, I was afraid of HER... the deep roots of trauma
 

Seagull

Registrant
Yes, I can imagine his mother had a look of concern. But like I said, he had a lucky escape. I hope his luck continued and he never experienced a reason to come to a site like this.
 

Alex T

Registrant
ive not become an abuser but interested in knowing more about it.
Also, I’ve been having sexual dreams about my abuser. Dreams about Consensual sexual contact with him and wishing he had used a different manner of abuse such as coaxing sexual activity rather than attacking me while I was sleeping.

I didn't remember being sexually abused until it came out in therapy. But I found myself one day at about 30 yo sitting on a park bench watching children play and thinking the unthinkable. I had no idea where it was coming from at the time. But it scared the crap out of me.

As the details of my repressed memories came out in therapy, I understood where it came from. I doubt I'd have actually done it as I'm a pretty gentle soul. But I chose to error on the side of caution. And I had great support from my T and other men in the community.

When I hear men use their abuse as an excuse to abuse children it makes me very angry. We're adults. We're supposed to protect the children, not prey on them. Anyway, that was my experience of it.

As for the sexual dreams: I find they come and go and I've learned to accept that it's ok to be curious about what might have been. Forgiving the adult me for having such thoughts is part of forgiving the child me for being abused. And for liking it enough that I've re-visited it as an adult.

I hope it’s ok to post these thoughts, feelings and questions. Just really confused.

It's totally ok. That's the beauty of this community, we can discuss things here that we can't discuss anywhere else.
 

Edin

Registrant
Becoming an abuser was something I believed was going to happen no matter what I did. It was an eventuality for me that was nothing but a lie. My father abused me, strangers abused me, my best friend at the time who was my brother abused me. I only know my best friend at the time had been the victim of a trope. Taken to the back of a van and sexually abused. However, he realized he was straight after using me. I have forgiven him, I have not forgotten.

In this case, for years I saw it as an 'us vs them' mentality. I was not them. And this myth is not true. As someone else described here, we are the only group that would be treated as Victims who become criminals. Now I will tell you that personally, several quirks I did take from my abusers were personality quirks that I didn't realize until much later.

My father would make a certain expression whenever he found out something he didn't know followed by a particular word.

The girl who sexually abused me when I was an in-patient at a rehab facility was gothic and wore dark clothes and had a stereotypical haircut of the sub-culture. I used to wear lighter colored clothes.

My roommate used a particular word and had a very 'logical' thought process for how she committed her abuse. I was very emotional and a 'lost puppy' mentality.

Every trauma from my personal experience left a mark. But it was people I was exposed to for long periods of time and only with very discernable quirks that left their impressions.

Every trait I described I have had and a few still persist.

I am logical, I dress in the described fashion, and I used to use that word followed by a specific facial expression.

Over the years, traits dwindle down, and become less apparent. The only relation I can see is that my first major sexual abuse stemmed from a place of healing where instead damage occurred.

I digress, as this is about you and not me.

The one thing I want to pass along is this.

No matter your past, your trauma. It does define you. But you shape that definition. You decide how it will be handled.

Take your time to heal, your time to recover, your time to process it.

It will be Hell. It will be difficult. But you will be better, you will rise above it. And you may turn your experience to help others who have been through it who feel as I once did.

Alone.

You are not.

I became an educator to make sure no child would ever have to go through what I did if I could help it.

Myth or not. No matter the case.

You are stronger than you give yourself credit for.

And you show great strength by choosing to seek help.

Be well and know you are already on the path to recovery.

Your future begins. Here.
 

MO-Survivor

Registrant
I posted this the other day. If you take the time to read through it, you can see the author / therapist’s view on how and why this can happen:
  • Boys need role models. It’s a need. And unfortunately boys can emulate their abuser
  • Screwed up views of masculinity
  • “Introjection” instead of projection while repeating the abuse, on the part of the abused. This “just happens” and as a boy you have no control over this
  • (the key piece in the chapter) Trying to heal the broken and frozen parts of yourself externally in a boy you recognize as you at that age. This can go awry for some, and creep into tragically repeating your abuse
    • The author says healing yourself is impossible, but believes healing is possible
It’s worth reading through and also reading the comments: https://forum.malesurvivor.org/threads/consequences-of-premature-sexuality.81288/
 

EQCR

Registrant
I see on TV and in movies the idea of the sexually abused growing up and becoming an abuser themselves. Does anyone know about this phenomenon? Is it as common as movies indicate? Why does it happen?

Sometimes an abused person feels powerless against the abuse/abuser. In some cases the abused person attempts to regain a sense of control by acting out in the same or similar manner to that which made them feel powerless themselves. They in effect rationalize and seek power by overpowering somebody else. There have been studies (as shown above) about the abuser/abused/abuser cycle and this is only one example of many different approaches to why the cycle exists and repeats.
Note: The TV and movie industries are profit motived. They make money getting you to watch. There are no movies about the average family doing average things because we are not drawn to watch them. So, no, it is not as common as movies / TV indicate. Human biology focuses much more on potential threats and things that are different than the everyday things. If you look at a giant field of grass with a tree in in the middle you focus on the tree, not the grass simply because it is different.
 

C. E. (Chase Eric)

Administrator
Staff member
I idolized the older boy next door. I even mimicked the way he spoke and embraced his rather red-necked humor. He was the "big brother" I did not have and I modeled myself to be just like him. Then the sexual abuse started. And I was like a car going 130 MPH that slammed on its brakes, did a 180, and sped off in the other direction. I very quickly wanted to be NOTHING like him. We still had a "friendship" that was based upon his predation and my acquiescence because at 12, I had no idea how to say no to a big 15 year old I looked up to. We settled into a mutually-obliging sexual relationship (meaning he took and I let him) that lasted from when I was 12 until I went away to college.

I mention this because if anyone was set up to carry on the cycle of abuser abusing, one might have thought I was particularly indoctrinated. I copied him in every other way. And yet being him to anyone else was anathema to me. It simply did not translate.

My abuse was prolonged over several years and rather intense in terms of his access to me alone (often all night in a backyard tent) and the sexual acts themselves. I lost a lot of who I might have become, and my sense of being a grounded, natural boy who would become a self-assured, responsible, and morally consistent man was seriously eroded. But I got my biggest wish: when I was going through it, I prayed that I would not grow up to become him. By the grace of God, I got that wish. It is one of the few triumphs I can truly claim.

I caught up with him years later, and we had a series of conversations. Someday I will share those. But what I can share here is this: I asked him if he was ever molested. I felt that it was probable that he was based upon the liberties he took with me. And I thought that he might claim he was even if it was not true in order to give himself cover for his actions. So I fully expected him to say he was. When he said he was not, I was a bit surprised. I share that here because - at least in one survivor's case (my own) - the "vampire syndrome" simply did not exist on either side of the abuse equation.
 

RobbieJoe

Registrant
Hence my childless marriages, and my self imposed strict aversion to being around children, when possible. I never have had any of those desires, and hope it stays that way.
 

The Bluefoot

Registrant
When I was raped at 9 1/2 by the baby sitters BF, he spanked me twice first on my clothes then bare bottom. He had all the control and power. I wanted that control and power. I did not like the rape or sexual part but the power and control I wanted. When I became a bullie years later. That was one of the things I did was spank others. No Sex ever. But I would spank others as to control and power over them I did this until my parents and I moved away from The Bronx when I was 16 1/2. I guess I was repeating the behavior that I learned that I wanted that was done to me.
 

Samson360

Registrant
I see on TV and in movies the idea of the sexually abused growing up and becoming an abuser themselves. Does anyone know about this phenomenon? Is it as common as movies indicate? Why does it happen?

ive not become an abuser but interested in knowing more about it.
Also, I’ve been having sexual dreams about my abuser. Dreams about Consensual sexual contact with him and wishing he had used a different manner of abuse such as coaxing sexual activity rather than attacking me while I was sleeping.

I hope it’s ok to post these thoughts, feelings and questions. Just really confused.
After my abuse at age 9 through 11, it was really hard to trust or open up to anybody. I knew that I would never do those things to any child. I attended a school for the blind, as I had lost most of my vision. I joined the swim team and very reluctantly began showering with the other boys. There would be like 1st graders and up in the showers and there was no attraction to them whatsoever. In fact me and my friends were very protective of the younger boys. Also in my late teens I lived with my uncle and his adopted son who I really loved like a little brother. We had a pool and Josh loved to go swimming naked as did I. It was very natural and innocent and I was very protective of him, I knew without a doubt I would never hurt a child in any way. I would also take my nephews skinny dipping as that was the norm living in the country. For the most part I would never think about the abuse I endured, I had just put it way back in my mind. I think anyone that sexually abuses a child should be put away for life...
 
I may sound unpopular, but protecting children and future generations is not an imposition, it is a decision based on life experiences, moral compass and ethics. Just like it is a decision to become vegan or having a meat-based diet with the implications each option has. Being radical on any decision will always come to a cost. Strict vegans could punish themselves just for salivating to the smell of a steak being cooked. The same goes to strict carnivores who could be publicly humiliated for just mentioning that a vegetable looks delicious. A strict anti-CSA person could feel extreme guilt for experiencing pleasure (not sexual) after just hugging a child which could trigger the fear of becoming a perpetrator. But that’s more of an emotional modulation issue. Pathological alarms would sound if the pleasure persists for extended periods of time and if there are episodes of sexually fantasizing or idealizing a minor. Our mind has to learn what desires it can feed and what desires should be discarded ASAP in order to heal and become the person we want.
In my personal experience, I’ve browsed on some adult websites that sometimes display thumbnails with performers who look way below legal age. For obvious reasons, I don’t click on those videos, but I also won’t cover my eyes and pretend that doesn’t happen. I understand that, if those videos are published in “legal” websites is because there’s someone powerful allowing it so, unless I have an army mighty enough to debunk them, I just limit myself to not support what I dislike.
It’s also important to consider what being a “perpetrator” means. People who produce or consume CP or people who exploit children are clearly in that category, but the big fishes are normally out of reach because they’re protected by authorities. On the other hand, framing someone into a sex-offender scandal is super easy these times with sensational press, social media and polarized society ready to lynch someone first and ask later. A recent example is the Mexican youtuber YosStop who naively published a video she received from “a friend” where a teenager is being abused. Even though YosStop's actions were illegal (and somehow stupid) I don’t think she did it with harmful intentions. I also think she’s being used as a scapegoat and a distraction from a far bigger scandal about Mexican actor Enrique Guzman who’s been sued by his own granddaughter for sexually abusing her. Another person framed was James Charles who (according to his version) received unsolicited inappropriate photos from a minor and that same person sued James because he kept the photos in his phone’s memory.
I’ve spent way too much time alone these last two years reflecting on my past and I’ve come to some clear measures to avoid becoming and being pointed/framed as a perpetrator:
I shall listen to my moral compass as it is one of the most important assets I’ve earned
I shall trust my sense of ethics and be sure and proud to consider myself a good (not perfect) person
I shall not trust people blindly, even if they are part of my “family” or people in the news
I shall not participate in media lynching or run to save anyone from injustice… even if it looks fun, becoming judgmental and irrational could easily backfire
I shall not accept any kind of illegal material. If received, I shall consider delivering it to authorities before commenting with anyone else (not even spouse or my pets) and restrict or even block communication with the person who sent it even if they’re family or friends.

********* POTENTIAL TRIGGERS AHEAD **************




I shall strictly and unapologetically stop any kind of contact or conversation with minors that may have taken a sexual turn ASAP. From my personal experience, I know that even small children can be used to frame an adult as a sex-offender. I was used by my abominable mother to frame my nanny when I was about 5 years old. Just a few words from that abominable woman and I was “playing to undress” my nanny. By the time my nanny understood what was happening, the abomination had taken several photos of us with my nanny’s breasts in my tiny hands. She stopped being a nanny and became a slave through extortion and threats.
 

Iv0_An

Registrant
I will respond without reading all the comments, I apologize to everyone who commented before me. My answer may not be very relevant, I just felt the need to share about it.

My partner is a survivor as well, not of a sexual, but of a physical abuse. He was beaten systematically as kid and teen first by his dad and later by his older brother(his brother was also beaten by their dad so he is the first example of abused turned into abuser). He left home while he was still in high school and doesn't stay in touch with no one from his family. I don't know if it's just what happened to him in his childhood or it's also his personality but my boyfriend tend to be very short tempered and turns to violence when things don't go the way he wants. I guess it's just the different way all of us cope with the abuse. Some of us, like me for example, are made into the eternal victim, I always self pity myself, I look for protection, I very often feel weak, lost. I really don't know how to make myself strong and actually I am not sure I want to. With my boyfriend is the opposite. He wants to constantly prove himself strong, independent, he is a control freak. And because his father and brother used to control him by physical force this is how he also seek to control the other, me especially. It is not how he wants it to be, he very often doesn't even remember what he has done while he was angry. I think it is somehow coded subconsciously in his mind to have these reactions. It is like and instinct.


As for myself and my sexual abuse as child, I don't in any way feel attracted sexually to children. But I do love children a lot. I am gay in country where same sex couples are not allowed to declare officially a domestic partnership and we are not allowed to adopt child as couple. So more likely I will never raise kids as a parent. But we have friends with kids and I love playing with them and spending time with them. I also worked as a babysitter when I was younger and I enjoyed this work. But in the last couple of years I feel kind of guilty when I enjoy my time with children. I think that started when I turned 29. 29 was the age of my abuser when he started raping me. So I think the awkwardness I started to feel about my joy around children began because I was triggered of age. Yet in the last few years I spent less time around children than I want to.
 

The Bluefoot

Registrant
The stats I have read are Those who were abused 25% become abusers, Spoiled kids 30% become abusers. Only childred 25% become abusers, if you put them all together it only adds up to about 40% become abusers. BUT Those who abuse others 95% of them were abused in some manner.
 
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