Feminism, My Mother, and Me (Trigger Warning)


Hello, friends.

I'm not sure exactly what to say here, or what hasn't been said by others, but it's something that I wanted to get off my chest. Serious Trigger Warning because I talk about what was done to me; I hadn't intended to say so much, but it's done now and I can't make it go away. I apologize in advance, as this is going to be a straight-from-the-heart ramble, though I will attempt to make it as cogent as possible.

Addendum: I feel obligated to state, for whatever reason, that this is a from-the-gut, stream-of-consciousness . . . thing . . . which does not necessarily reflect what I actually think or believe, not the least because I wasn't concerned at the time of writing with making sure that I was saying everything "correctly". I just needed to say it, however ugly it may seem, so I apologize in advance. Now then . . .

Women scare me. Not all women--but most.

My mother, who was a self-avowed feminist with a heaping side of misandry, was (how do I put this?) my "primary" abuser. My great-uncle was sexually abusive as well, but my mother was the person that I lived with, so in many ways what she did feels "worse", simply because I was subjected to it on a semi-regular basis (when my father was out of town for business) from the ages of 8 to 18. Her physical and verbal abuse--a result, I believe, of her alcoholism / the copious consumption of boxes of Franzia--began when I was 6.

(Meanwhile, my great-uncle put his tongue in my mouth when I was 5, forced me to sit on his lap when he had an erection--in full view of the family--when I was 8--and during the same visit kissed me again and forced me to give him oral sex--and to swallow. I was 14 when again he forced me to give him oral sex, to kiss him, and then he raped me.)

But I digress.

My mother was always sexually inappropriate, for as long as I can remember. Everything from calling me into the bathroom to watch her towel off, making a show of her breasts and private parts, to parading around the house naked (and encouraging me to do the same, when I was 8 and too young to understand) . . . To asking me to undress for her . . . To graphically detailing her sexual exploits, forcing me to watch pornography . . . Luring me to bed in covert ways, even when my father was home (i.e. on a Saturday morning, "Come here, Dyl; let's cuddle and sleep in!", just press her body against mine under the covers) . . . things that my dad, bless him, could never have assumed meant anything wrong . . . And then she began to touch me, to force me to touch her private parts and kiss her, to press the weight of her body down on top of me. I hated it. I shrank so far into my body that I may as well have not existed. Perhaps I didn't. No--I didn't.

But my body did.

I'm gay. I have no attraction to women, but she touched me and rubbed her body against mine and forced me into . . . places. And I was young, and friction is a stimulus.

I'm so ashamed of my body, even now. On bad days I hate that I feel sexual arousal at all, that it's a terribly dirty thing, that there's a black hole consuming that part of my body.

I heard her and my father having sex often. She made the same sounds with me. I can feel her body as she

Now I cannot hear my neighbors without being triggered. Sometimes I hear a woman and hate the autonomic arousal. I am not attracted to woman; I tell myself it's an ingrained response to trauma, much as rape survivors sometimes experience arousal via stories of rape. But I feel dirty and disgusting and as if I betray myself.

Indeed, this has caused a massive rift in my relationship with my father as well. He was head-over-heels in love with the woman who would become his second wife, after he divorced my mother. I didn't know her, as their courtship occurred when I was away at college. I came upon them making out in the kitchen, and asked my father if they could please try to keep it down around me. He promised; he said we had a deal.

Not so.

And so a few nights later I heard them having sex, loudly, and I left him a note on the counter: "We had a deal!" before creeping to hide in a corner of the basement for the rest of the night, where he found me in the morning.

My father's response to his broken deal was "People have sex. Get over it." (Fun fact: this is my therapist's response as well.)

He shattered my trust. His then-girlfriend, now-wife--insofar as I'm concerned, she had equal part, though perhaps that's just my prudery at thinking people who have sex loudly in close quarters are incredibly rude.

They do not, probably cannot, understand that in its own way this felt like yet another violation. My brain now does not trust either of them. I heard him having sex with her, heard him having sex with my mother, and the sounds my mother made--

Circuitous, broken illogic, but my body has decided they aren't safe. After ten years I still feel this way and that's part of why I will not go to visit them.

Of course they won't understand this, so I won't bother trying to tell them. I thought I wanted to, once, but is it worth it? Probably not.

But I digress.

I tried to tell people--teachers, school counselors--about the things my mother did, and no one believed me. To this day, even as I tell my story or when I am triggered or whatever else the case may be, the feeling of dissociation is synonymous with "You're lying. You're not telling the truth. No one will believe you. It isn't true. Stop lying."

And so it goes. My mother and great-uncle have stolen sex from me--anything and everything. Being kissed. Being touched. Making love. Being given compliments--being told I'm beautiful--being told I'm sexy. These words disgust me, and the actions--as they should be? I do not know what these things are. I do not know their joy, and have never met a man who understands. Does such even exist? I'm 30 and a virgin and it's not that I mind so much as the fear that I will never meet a man who knows what it is to be patient and gentle and that everything from the unexpected kiss to all a manner of sexual acts are scary, scary things, even though I know that they don't have to be.

But again, I digress.

And so it goes and my mother wanted me to be the perfect feminist. I won't deign to make a judgement on all of feminism, or all feminists, but all that I've seen of the modern kind (from my mother to her friends to the feminist authors I was forced to read in school to the rampant misandry on the internet and its acceptance into classrooms as a matter of fact to #MeToo to the continual silencing of male survivors to the blatant misandry that's becoming so socially-acceptable) . . . all of it is so, so terrible, so backwards, so hurtful and hateful and the hate is accepted and perpetuated and I fear it will never end.

So women scare me. Angry women especially.

But also women.

Before I lost my job due to COVID, I was doing research for my employer and happened to read many higher-education institutions' policies about sexual harassment. I was astounded to read that the vast majority of policies called for action against the accused, whether the harassment was "real or perceived". I couldn't help but think that this was solely about females reporting males, and that any man so-accused would likely lose his job and have his entire life destroyed. What recourse would be taken against a woman, if a man reported her? Who believes a man if he is raped or domestically abused by a woman?

Insofar as I recall, men's reports of being raped by women aren't even classified as rape, which skews the statistics for any who might be looking for incidents of female-on-male sexual assault. I believe if we "adjust" for this gross misunderstanding, rates of female-on-male sexual violence are equal to those of male-on-female--if not more. I could be wrong; don't quote me. But I read it somewhere, and it stuck.

I wonder, too, how many female victims of female-perpetrated abuse are also silent. The statistics on domestic violence in lesbian relationships, for example, were terrible, the last I saw. What answer does feminism have for that, except to blame everything on the all-pervasive "patriarchy"?

Women, after all, can only be raped and abused. They cannot be rapists, cannot be abusers, cannot be terrible, terrible monsters. No, no: only men. And women, of course, who can lie and manipulate, are to be believed all in their accusations, whether founded or not. "Innocent until proven guilty" means naught.

And I fear for myself--my own safety, I suppose. I am legally blind and fear constantly that a woman may misconstrue how I'm "looking" at her (when I'm not even looking at her at all, but so goes the perception). I am also gay, of course, but I don't believe I'm often "read" as such (hooray for stereotypes!), so I don't know that I even have that "obvious" "protection".

And so what could I possibly say that would be taken seriously, if a woman in the workplace (or anywhere) were to accuse me of some imagined misconduct? "I'm blind. I'm gay." Surely I would start to cry, or dissociate to the point of being able to say very little in my defense. Would that even matter--a grown man reduced to the child who was raped and beaten for ten years, terrified, unheard, crying and daring say nothing because he knows he that his innocence won't be believed--just as his cries for help weren't believed, all those years ago?

Or does the word of women trump all?

I find myself withdrawing more and more: I am a good man. I know this. I am gentle and kind and would never say or do anything undue to anyone. But I find myself terrified, dissociating, isolating, for the fear of the hammer that will inevitably drop (or so it feels)--and so it was, when I was young. I thought after each incident of rape that it would end. It never did.

I cannot read or hear angry words written or spoken by women without being triggered. Of course the feminist response to this is "Does an angry woman, a woman in power, scare you? Good!" or "You must be a misogynist, with your frail little 'masculine' ego!" or any number of other things that send me reeling, things that my mother said and more.

My mother is everywhere, even though she's been dead for ten years.

"Good" feminists are out there, of course--by which I mean good women, and maybe there is good feminism that doesn't subscribe to the mainstream current version. I don't know.

Though I will say that I had a lightbulb moment the other day, in realizing that feminism is just an ideology, and at this point and time, it's being given unholy power and becoming something unquestionable, which makes it all the more dangerous. It's entirely possible to be a perfectly good human being without being a feminist--and not, in fact, automatically a misogynist by default for not accepting feminist ideology.

I'm tired of being frightened and cowed and effectively abused by my mother after all these years by complete strangers who believe their abuse is righteousness. I'm tired of being silent, but I don't know how to speak. And who can I tell, who won't read something like this and immediately think "Oh, he's a misogynist, he hates women!" After all, are female survivors not allowed to hate men?

I do not hate women.

I am simply terrified of most of them, with two exceptions.

The face of my mother is everywhere.
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Quite a bit to digest... you opened the floodgates! Yes, you have much trauma to carry. It is good you can write it out and share it here. I know I've shared things here I've never said to anyone before. I guess I felt safe doing so... that men here could understand... if not the specific behaviors but at least how the reality of sexual abuse can have long lasting impact on our lives. And so you're unpacking your trauma... with your mother, your uncle that left much damage. Yes, what they did was horrific... they USED you for their distorted pleasure. The stories told on these forums will all be different but at the same time, they will involve betrayal of innocence... OUR innocence. It is OUR lives that have been damaged almost to the breaking point. I say almost because we know there are folks who didn't survive the trauma they experienced, but we did. We're here because we want to heal and however it happened, we found THIS place to do our healing work. The past was horrific but the present need not be. This is what the healing journey looks like... telling the truth about what happened to men who will listen without judgment who are willing to offer support as we heal. I'm glad you took the risk to share your story with us. You're not alone with any of it.
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Floodgates indeed . . . ugh.

Thank you for wading through this cesspool, friend, and offering such comforting words. I really appreciate it.
@JDylah_da_Kylah - I believe you. I believe every word you wrote. You deserve to have answers, even if there aren't any. I'm a man who was sexually, emotionally, and physically abused by my ex-wife. I've been through the fire and I feel like I am finally coming through the other side. I hope you will indulge me if I feel like somehow I can have some answers for you. Maybe they'll even be useful.

What recourse would be taken against a woman, if a man reported her?
It depends on where, when, and how. You are doing exactly what I used to do - seeing the world in black and white, which is an effect of our trauma. It takes a lot of practice to find the gray areas. But here's a great place to try. In many places, men would be laughed at. But it is slowly changing and now we see abusers who are women arrested almost every month and in many places is only getting better.

men's reports of being raped by women aren't even classified as rape, which skews the statistics for any who might be looking for incidents of female-on-male sexual assault.
Some men's reports are classified as rape, if she penetrated him anally, which doesn't happen all that often, as you know. The laws and the stats are still written to favor female victims. But many anti-sexual assault organizations are learning that stats are useless, and they've stopped using them in making programming decisions. They're helping whoever shows up, whatever gender they are.

What answer does feminism have for that, except to blame everything on the all-pervasive "patriarchy"?
Remember: most women do not consider themselves to be feminists. And most feminists don't hate men and are even our allies in fighting sexual abuse. Most feminists can tell the difference between individual men and the so-called patriarchy. Not the loudest ones, to be sure. But as everywhere else, the loudest ones aren't the most common ones.

Women, after all, can only be raped and abused. They cannot be rapists, cannot be abusers, cannot be terrible, terrible monsters. No, no: only men.
Women (and men) who believe this are not worth listening to. Period. It took me such a long time to learn this and live it. But it's absolutely true.

And women, of course, who can lie and manipulate, are to be believed all in their accusations, whether founded or not. "Innocent until proven guilty" means naught.
The truth is that false accusations are, thankfully, still pretty rare in the real world. Not in academia, but unless you're a college student, you really don't have to worry about it.

But I find myself terrified, dissociating, isolating, for the fear of the hammer that will inevitably drop (or so it feels)--
I understand this so much. Looking at women was like looking at an accuser. But I can tell you that no one sees you like this except yourself. It was a heard, painful lesson to learn in my own life, but it's true. Our abuse has changed our brains. We're hypervigilant against all threats - and we see women as a threat. I learned to make my brain stand down. You can too.

I cannot read or hear angry words written or spoken by women without being triggered. Of
I understand this very well, too. I would go to the internet and look up articles by angry women in order to trigger myself. But many people are angry. Few to none are angry at YOU. Again, hard to learn, but with practice, you can.

It's entirely possible to be a perfectly good human being without being a feminist--and not, in fact, automatically a misogynist by default for not accepting feminist ideology.
Bravo! Very true.

I'm tired of being frightened and cowed and effectively abused by my mother after all these years by complete strangers who believe their abuse is righteousness.
And there you go. You know what's happening in your brain. It's not about women - it's about your mother.

I too had to learn that only my ex-wife was my ex-wife and no other women were my ex-wife. No one else wished me ill. Easy to know, but difficult to feel. You're on your way.

After all, are female survivors not allowed to hate men?
They are. They do! And most of them recover and learn to love men again. It IS about recovery. A small number don't recover and stay bitter and hate men forever. And are they happy? They are not.

You deserve happiness. You deserve recovery. I wish you happiness and recovery. You're getting there.
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Heya, @Strangeways. Thank you, friend, for listening, sharing a bit of your own story, and getting back to me with thoughts (and facts!).

I'm trying to think where the best place to start is.

I suppose, re: the legal recourse for a male reporting being raped by a woman: it's more my frustration that, so far, the legal system does not consider being forced to penetrate an act of rape. I sincerely hope that some day this changes and all forms of rape are understood and prosecuted accordingly.

As for the points about many organizations changing their ways of thinking about rape and (odd to say this in the same sentence) many women not considering themselves feminists--maybe I've just consistently run into the exceptions in both cases. For example, the director of the main shelter in my city for domestic violence victims is on record as saying the majority of men who report rape "are lying", and most of the other, smaller organizations state that they only help women. Resources for men are scant, and scanter still are those which address female-on-male violence (of all kinds).

So--even if it's not where I am, hearing that change is happening is good. Sometimes it's hard to see that the bigger picture exists beyond one's own city.

As for women and feminism--again, I find your point absolutely fascinating, because so far I've only met one woman who's explicitly said she isn't. Everyone else has, at one point or another, either proudly proclaimed being a feminist (and gone on to say misandrist things, etc.) or at the very least have engaged in angry activism (which isn't the same thing but it sure feels close enough, at least to me). And for whatever it's worth--obviously this is not their issue--not even an issue; at the end of the day I don't particularly care if someone's a feminist or not. (To that point as well, though, I've actually never met a self-proclaimed feminist who isn't one of the loud and angry sort.)

And whatever I may think of the ideology, it's ultimately the anger that scares me.

And I should also add that this isn't limited to feminism, though I realize that's where I've been focused for some reason. It's all anger. All of it. Feminism, politics, social justice-y things . . . Yeah, I've spent the last few years a nervous wreck as it's felt like all of everything has just spiraled out of control and anger's become the default operating mode for some many folks.*

I also experienced this while in college, at seminary, and attempting a MA in counseling. But maybe that's an academic thing?

So maybe I've just had the "bad luck" (if you will--can't think of a better phrase) to just run into the stats and the people and and the places so on and so forth that have unfortunately done little but reinforce my fears (and at the very least represent their ideology poorly).

As for reading angry words--oh, goodness, I've stopped playing on the internet a while ago, haha. I've learned that lesson. I certainly don't look it up intentionally. My source of exposure, if you will, is simply--well!--that one of my (weird?) coping mechanisms is to write gay (male / male) fanfiction. Most male / male fanfic writers are women--and those in "my" fandom specifically are, insofar as I've gotten to know them, all ardent feminists, and like to talk about everything from a feminist perspective (with lots of man-bashing, because . . . ?). I've gotten better at sort of . . . how do I say this politely? . . . skirting around those subjects without letting them sink in too much. (And to be fair, I've actually met one really nice person who's a feminist but also doesn't immediately lay into me when I suggest something contrary to her ideological position. AKA "Holy shit we can actually have a friendly chat and focus on the stuff we agree on, i.e. that we're using fanfic as a way of escaping the real world for a while, rather than the real world shit we may disagree on." Who'd'a thunk.)

(Seriously, though, the fanfic "community" can be surprisingly cut-throat. Woof.)

Also, it's interesting: I now have the ingrained urge to explicitly state that it's okay to be feminist if you want to and I don't hate women and so on (though I've already said the last bit, I think)--like this compulsive urge to try and pacify anyone, preemptively, who may happen to think "Well that asshole's just railing against women and feminism!" (I'm really not! Please don't hate me.)

* And maybe that's as much a product of our society, too--I've noticed over the past few years that it's getting harder and harder for people to understand that just because someone may disagree with your ideology doesn't mean they're saying you can't think what you like. And I mean in the real world--not on the internet. The internet is bleeding into people's lives and really changing how they think and behave towards one another.

What social media is doing to people's brains . . . Honestly, that fucking scares the crap out of me.

Anyway, that's a ramble and a half . . . Thank you for patting me on the head and hearing me out, friend.
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Oh jeez, PLEASE do not listen to the women in charge of domestic violence shelters. They are the easily the worst, most man-hating crowd I know. If you think about it, you might be able to understand why. That doesn't absolve them from their crazy and rotten opinions, though.

Also, please do not listen to the women who write fanfiction - it's well-known that they are all pretty much crazy. I'm not being flip or dismissive - for whatever reason this community seems to breed a type who constantly tries to one-up each other in their social justice (i.e. misandrist) creds. It's like that in a lot of fan communities.

Likewise, women in college and getting degrees tend to be extremely angry and often misandrist, having just been converted to feminism and having little real world experience to fall back on. And any feminist with an ideology is going to be more dogmatic than a generic feminist.

So I guess I'm saying ... Yeah, sounds like you need to find nicer women to hang out with! They're out there, believe me!


Haha, thanks, friend.

Just musings . . .

I don't think all women are the way my mother was . . . which sounds funny, considering the whole mess up there that I just wrote this morning . . . I guess there's a disconnect between what I feel about women (especially strangers) instinctively, because of my mother, and then, you know, what I feel when my actual non-instinctive head (and heart!) that are in the driver's seat most of the time.

No idea if that makes sense . . . I guess when I wrote that mess this morning it was all just hitting me at once, and anxiety likes to run with everything . . .

I will say, though, that it is absolutely fascinating to be one of the few actual real live gay men writing gay fanfic (or at least openly so). So much of what my, hm, peers(?) write is nothing more than sexual objectification (though of course they won't admit it); I hate to sound like I'm on a high horse, but I keep it classy. Is there sex? Well, sometimes yes, because I find that healing to write about (although I'm rogue and don't follow the formula of what gay sex is "supposed" to be)--but I actually give a shit about the story and the characters and . . . Ahem. Anyway. (That's one of my pet peeves, in case it's not clear as mud. I'm all for erotica but damn I want it to be tasteful.)

(It's also fascinating to sort of be in the community as an outsider in other ways . . . I'm just there to write stories because it makes me happy. That is all. I am a simple man and have no interest in earning brownie points or garnering cred for non-fandom opinions, ideologies, etc. As you said--most everyone else seems keen on either one-upping each other or hardcore circling the wagons and doubling down against anyone who doesn't think just the way they do. I've seen this extend towards other aspects of fandom as well--and it's tearing some apart. This makes me very sad. RIP, Star Wars and Star Trek . . .)

But anyway, back to friends: I am blessed to have a dear friend . . . She and her wife were in the military for 15+ years (out in the military too, before Don't Ask, Don't Tell was repealed) . . . Such amazing, wonderful people the both of them are. No-nonsense, cut-the-ideological-bullcrap (but-also-keep-what's-good). So here's a tip of the hat to them!
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Hi Dyl.--

I first want to say I am so sorry for what your mother and uncle did to you. In no way, shape or form did you deserve any of that. And from what your father and his wife/gf are doing is not cool either, it's disrespectful and I understand you setting your distance.

I am not you so I have no idea of your experience other than what you have shared, which sounds terrifying. So I could understand your fear of women and feminists.

I can give you a bit of a different insight. I started and ran a nonprofit organization to help LGBT survivors of domestic,sexual, and hate violence. I don't want to give a lot of info because if you did too much info you would figure out who I am. But this came about because a friend who I went to church with and was gay was murdered by his partner in cold blood. So at the same time I found that out, I was volunteering at our town's LGBT community center and they were having a Pride Week with programming everyday. One day was about domestic and sexual violence information. So I went. I asked the question "If a man called your hotline and needed a place to stay because he was in crisis could he stay?" And the response after a few minutes of silence was "No." There were gasps from the people there and this person was not expecting this. So I asked "So what do you do then instead?" and she replied "Well nothing." I was PISSED. Among other people there.

So myself along with three other people found this organization. Now you don't start an organization like this in a vacuum. At least in my town, you have to work with the big players and teach them how to work with the LGBT community because our goal was to work ourselves out of a job. They were there and they should be serving EVERYBODY. Not just women who identify as women, but also men but also sidenote they did not accept any trans people. So they were screwed too. In regards to sexual violence, our town has an awesome rape crisis organization and I talked to the executive director (who I know you are thinking is the boot klunking feminist--not so) and the director of outreach and we set up training for all volunteers and employees on LGBT SA. Side note: they also do CSA support/counseling/support groups as well and are known as a leader for that as back when they did it they were given a lot of grief for starting to do that--at least in our area/state/region.

Anyway, I had to make nice with these DV shelter directors (who you might say are feminists dressed in Nordstrom) who basically slammed the door in my face every chance they got. They woke up when the foundation grantmakers and state grantors found out about us and they didn't understand why they weren't serving our constituents and suddenly had to fund us and asked them a whole lot of questions. They then decided to work with us then, at the minimum. As time went by, and they met my staff and I hired LGBT people myself including people who identified as lesbians (I know, scary, sorry) who would talk to them and also realize that I am not the big bad wolf trying to close their shelter but trying to work with them or actually make them do their jobs. When I left, men still weren't allowed in shelters but they had a plan along with us to shelter men in hotels and gave them what they needed such as food, clothing, taxi service, pet sheltering, plus the regular services of court advocacy, counseling, etc. Yes, they would offer a man or trans person counseling. And I was told it was good. Most clients would not take it and take one of ours out of comfort but sometimes they would take theirs because it was free or close to their home or they had developed a repoire with their staff or something.

So I tell you all this for a reason. The DV laws at least in our state require someone to be arrested. In our metro, the police have been trained by the shelters and us to arrest the PERP and not the VICTIM. So they know that anyone can be either role. And we have been called as have been shelters (we've been called when this happens) when it is a same-sex dv case. The sad thing is I've had at least three people I know personally come to me telling me they are in relationships they need to leave due to DV. Women and men.

As for the sexual assault, I've seen the LGBT side more than the straight side but yes it has issues. Same sex SA happens, you bet. In bars, between friends, at parties, etc. That's where the date rape drugs come in a lot. But yes, police are called (if at all) and when they are at least again in my state get victims to the hospital for treatment. But education is important, and can prevent those situations. Not all of course, but it helps.

As for women perp sexual harassment, that you would know about since you have studied the policies. I know working in the corporate world, HR is the end all with legal second so I think it'd depend on the situation, case, people, etc. I know that there have been studies done and indeed, cases won by men. But in daily cases, I am not for sure.

I know for me I've experienced my fair share of misogyny. And it's crap. And dealing with the DV directors was all about power--I just knew that I was in the right and I also knew I had to work with them on some level to make things work in our city. If I had been a woman, I bet things would have been totally different. But I think it needed to be that way on purpose. I met so many lesbians who were so excited about what I was doing--and partially because nobody had been able to do it. It took a man? Really?

As for feminism and writing, if that is your outlet and also a space for sexual expression then go for it. It sounds like you've thought about it and it's what you need right now.

I hope this post helped in ANY way and did not make ANYTHING worse. Again, I support you and I see you for what you are, an innocent little boy loved by us. I know that just expressing what you did with this post took courage and I give you that as well. I'm sorry you feel like that about your body and your mother did that to you causing that. There is no excuse. Hopefully with some healing you can take some of that back from her.



Thanks again for sharing your thoughts, friend, and your anecdotes. It is good to hear that in some places this narrative paradigm around who experiences abuse is changing and that more and more people are speaking up and saying that help needs to be available for everyone, regardless of whether their situation fits the hitherto unquestioned mold or not.

As for feminism and writing--oh, well, it's just part of the territory, I guess. As strangeways said, certain things attract a certain crowd. There are always outliers, which I guess I am, and that's okay. I'm not going to let others' ideological zeal keep me from doing something that means a lot to me--it just means I operate with caution.

Anyway--thank you for listening, as always. (And pardon my brevity--too much tugging at my attention this morning, haha.)

Take care,


@Sprinter--I'm glad that some of the mess that I wrote was resonant with you, friend--at least in hopefully reminding you that you are not alone.

Everything sure is twisted together, isn't it? And nastily so. But knowing who you are--that's something to cling to, when all the madness comes. Hold fast to that, and remember that any betrayal is not you unto yourself, but what's been done unto you.

Feel free to reach out with a Message anytime if you want to talk. I'm always happy to listen.


I can relate to much of what you went through with your mom. My mom didn't do anything physical, but there was always flirting and inappropriate dress. She would compliment my looks, give me back rubs as a teen. I always felt like she wanted me to be her lover and I am ashamed to say that I really wanted to have sex her at times. At the same time I was repulsed by the feelings I was having for her. I knew she was mom, and I should trust her, but I knew something wasn't right about what was going on. It was so psychological, so confusing. I stopped feeling safe with her around age 3. I hate to be too close her, hated hugs. Usually getting a hug from a mom should be comforting, but for me it was icky and uncomfortable.

I feel a lot of shame around sex and sexuality too. I have a great wife who is understanding, but I still get overwhelmed with shame and confusion and I want to act out with porn.

Thanks for sharing your story.

dark empathy

Hi JDylah.

Though my story is different, I do get a lot of this, and i'm really sorry to hear it, what happened to you was definitely abuse.

I also very much get the problems of feeling genophobic (afraid of sex), I was for years, and badly triggered by all the misandry in general fiction and fandom these days, since that's something I struggle with on a regular basis myself.

Unfortunately, as you said, it's affected fans of a number of universes, from Startrek and starwars to harry potter and has gone very nuclear at the moment, with me too etc, and I can definitely see how seeing a lot of that is likely to be triggering if your afraid of sex, and believe your liable to be accused etc, especially since having a visual impairment, much of eye contact facial expression is simply missing, and you fear "looking at someone wrong"

The one thing I can say, is that for me the thing that killed genophobia and made me realise I! wasn't any kind of abuser, was meeting the right person, --- a lady in my case.
I was 33, also a virgin, and whilst I could have female friends, always stayed at a distance, indeed I was utterly convinced I was disgusting and a potential abuser, I used to have regular nightmares of being accused of sexual abuse.

I was very, very lucky, indeed I often dread to think where I would be now if I hadn't met my lady.
Admittedly, that doesn't help if your still looking for someone, or unsure even how to start, but just to say yes I get it, both the genophobia, and the triggering nature of internet fandom, indeed I probably would have a longer discussion, but at the moment I'm finding the generally negative and misandric climate very hard to deal with when combined with my own powerlessness trigger, hence why I've been rather quieter on this board recently.

But be aware that yes, it does happen, and that I hear you, but that in a small way, it can get better.

Hope some of this is sort of vaguely helpful.



@flying--Hello, friend. Thank you for sharing a piece of your story with me. I'm sorry for what your mother did.

Hearing what you said has me reflecting now on the use of "mom" vs. "mother"--and the damage done, no matter the reason, when a hug or comfort from mom / mother feels icky or uncomfortable or unsafe. After all, one's mother--biologically and socially--is supposed to be, you know, Comfort and Love and Peace. All those basic, protective, nurturing things. What does that do to the people (men and women) whose mothers violate that trust? Emotionally (the domineering-type mothers, the aloof mothers, etc.), physically, sexually, verbally?

(I'd argue there's equal damage done when fathers behave poorly as well . . . but so many of us are taught that mothers are the quintessential parent . . . Unfortunately, both in reality and fiction, fathers are too often absent for one reason or another--even "good" reasons, such as working 13+ hours a day to provide. The latter was my father, and I love him for it, but I wish he'd been around more. Maybe if he had we'd have a better relationship now, etc. . . . but here I am, getting off-track!)

My therapist pointed out that there's a flaw in how society teaches us to think about parents (i.e. putting them on pedestals), but the truth is that parents (our parents and parents in general) are just human beings. Flawed, fragile, imperfect. But because they're parents, we often think that somehow they should be "better" than the average human being--that "a baby changes everything," as the saying goes--and surely only for the better.

But it's not true--that it's always for the better--and unfortunately sometimes it's the children who get caught in the crosshairs.

And is there healing in maybe re-teaching ourselves to step back and let go of some of the "fairy tale" feelings about our parents that we're "supposed" to feel? (Even if it's unrelated to sexual abuse--for example, my struggles with my father. Once I was able to let go of his being my father and the importance of feeling like somehow our relationship had to be good because of that, because I'm his son--once I was able to let go of that and see his behaviors for what they were, and to just accept them as they were--I don't know. It didn't get any better, but I wasn't agonizing over it as much. That distance helped.)

Perhaps that's why I call my mother, well, "mother". Not "Mom". That's what I called her while alive and for me it's an honor she never earned.

@dark empathy--oh, friend, thank you so much for chipping in with your thoughts and experiences. About so many things. There's much I want to say in response, though I'll endeavor to keep this brief because I absolutely understand where you're coming from, i.e. triggers and feeling overwhelmed and tired and just needing a break from all of it . . . (Oh, look, I failed to keep this brief. I apologize. I hope it wasn't too long of a response!)

It was actually your posts that I saw which convinced me to sign up here, truth be told--so thank you, many times over.

At some point, I would absolutely love to have a chat about what's going on in fandom these days. The sad thing to me is that it's not just on the internet now. I've tried to have conversations with folks about Wars and Trek, and maybe it's just the people I was with, but that misandry is right out in the open in real life. Not just towards fan themselves, but towards the source material itself . . .

This stuff has indeed gone nuclear and so I'm just going to keep my fluffy ol' head down--but damn if it doesn't break my heart. And to be clear, people can have whatever opinion they want, ideologically or otherwise, in relation to a particular fandom--it's the sheer toxicity which gnaws at me.

*exhausted sigh*

Also, thank you for reassuring me re: the visual impairment piece. You're quite right--facial expressions, eye contact, all those things that at least for me just soar right over my head. All the nonverbal cues, really . . . So in addition to being hit with a lot of misandrist messages (and it's even in how news is reported, often enough) and therefore feeling on-edge because of that (how can you not help but internalize it?), there's also the fundamental disconnect of simply not being able to see what others can and often do take for granted.

And the piece of being afraid of (and feeling sure of) being a potential abuser. I don't feel this way towards women (it's more the fear of being falsely accused), but I do feel this way somewhat around kids. (Children in general make me extremely uncomfortable as well, although I think this is for a variety of reasons, some relating to my childhood, and some not.)

And the thing is, of course, I would never hurt anyone. The notion that I would become an abuser is utterly ridiculous. I think this is because so often we hear "Oh, well, almost all abusers have been abused themselves"--which creates a false narrative that all survivors of abuse will become abusers, which is simply untrue. And particularly as survivors, it becomes all-too-easy to think "Oh shit, that's me. I'm a fucking ticking timebomb."

Even though we know in our heart-of-hearts we aren't.

The particularly crappy thing for me is at least the fact that the current climate does nothing but enforce what my mother's hardcore rhetoric taught me: "You're a man. Men suck. Men are evil. Men are nothing but rapists and abusers and misogynists. Women are the best and will dominate the world until men will become obsolete." And so on. Enforced, of course, by her physical and sexual abuse: what was I but a boy, and powerless beneath a woman? As it should be, from her perspective.


Anyway, many thanks for reminding me that it can and will get better. Your reply was extraordinarily helpful and spoke directly to my heart. And I'm so happy you met your lady, friend. I wish you both all a measure of happiness and peace.
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Greetings JDylah.

Reading your story, have many similarities to mine. I was also abused by my mother, who was in and out of lesbianism. She was a high strung women who would have the most terrifying outburst of rages. It was sexual touching, slapping, pinching nipples, sticking her finger in my buttock's outlet, as a toddler, and other physical improprieties. I was also, my parents friends sexually abused by a man during an orgy. I had gender confusion and thought I should have been a girl, because my mother basically hated men, but used them when it was advantageous for her personally. When I was older she asked me to share her bed at 32, I was frozen with terror. That was the first real sign I realized something was not right because I had stuffed away all the other abuses very early and lived in a fantasy world where I could survive my life. I also had many physical beatings, emotional stresses, beyond what any little boy or teenager should have to deal with. As I got older I did not like being close to her, she sensed this and would shove guilt trips upon me, I just hated to be near her. My father left when I was 7, so I had no father for protection. He was afraid of her rages as well. So he ran for the hills.
I was drawn to older boys and men at a very early age, started to pretend I was the woman during playing relations at the age of 9. I suffered many varying sicknesses, as a child, and pretended I was someone else especially during my early teen years. I had a couple of emotional breakdowns between 12-14, tried to commit suicide at fourteen. And I would beg teenage boys older then me to allow me to have oral sex......it was so degrading, at the time I did not realize it, it was just a seducing hunger........so I had sex relations in some form at very early age. Finally at 16 I learned what being gay was through the gentle teaching of an older professional man who was 32 yrs, and a reporter for a well known Evening newspaper. When that happened, it was as if I was set free....I had an identity! So until I was of legal age, I was with older men. After I left home at 18 because I was fed up with the beatings.....I was legally free and said to my family.....screw you....I'm living my life! And I did. I tried in my early 20s thought to have a sex change, but I thank God that did not happen.

Regarding women, I like women, non-aggressive women. However, like you when they are aggressive I let them know......STOP get away from me! I will not tolerate their feminist views to denigrate men! I had that most of my young life and adult life. I had personality dysfunctions, and always desired to be someone else. I did Drag, and knew many drag queens, and a few want to be sex-changes. I could relate, they all had much personal pains and Identification problems. Many of my lovers did not understand me, and who could I did not understand myself, not until I turned 50, then it all started to unravel........thank God for that.
I was a sexual male rabbit, hooked on it, sex crazed.......drugs, all to try and be someone else. It's called disassociation and self-rejection, so I do totally relate to your personal dysfunctions. Here you can totally let lose......and it's good to do so......no one here will judge......
So all the best, I hope to hear from you more.
Thanks for opening up......later....