Identity, abuse, shame, self image past and present, moving on, grief, acceptance - a lot of issues

I look back at the kid that I was who was abused by an adult male and then who acted out with more men after that and I have a very hard time not blaming myself. I see that I was abused and sexualized and that I starting acting out a pattern that was set in motion by someone else but I also see that I "sought" it after the fact. I didn't have any attention at home, no affection, no care, no one seeing me and I mistakenly (such a gigantic mistake) took the abuse as being seen, affection, being cared about. But I see it was just men taking advantage of an extremely disconnected boy, men who knowingly used a boy for their own grubby needs where they could use someone and be done with him when they wished.

Looking back, I couldn't help myself. I had no way out. Once the first episode happened, I felt responsible and guilty and ashamed but also physically touched which I desperately needed but it was by a stranger who disappeared right after sexually intoxicating me and utilizing me for his own sexual gratification while seeming to make it about my gratification that I wasn't seeking from him. I was seeking help, connection, direction, someone to talk to me, someone to see me, someone to help me get away from a fucking crazy, cloying mother and father who didn't care - I just wanted a male in my life who cared about me and made me really feel cared about and valuable. And then this fucking piece of shit comes along at an incredibly vulnerable time and takes all that stuff that is swirling inside of me and he tells me through his behavior and actions that I am really seeking sex and that is what this is all about.

I am sad and ashamed of what happened and that no one in my family of origin cared enough or paid attention enough to me to realize that something had happened. Because I didn't come home beaten up or obviously assaulted, life went on and no one EVER asked me anything. Ever. They wanted me to be the good, quiet one. And I was. I became bitter and edgy but still played the role of the good, quiet one while seeking to re-enact the abuse (the mistaken attention and affection) and that secret just grew and grew and grew and I mistook the secret for my orientation and I didn't grow up with my peers and I didn't date and I drifted more and more into my own reality and disconnected more and more from real relationships and here I am now, wanting relationships and realizing how much time and opportunity I let go by and I am in the process of accepting all of that and accepting how I thought of myself for decades and wanting to let go because I finally realize how untrue it all was but I don't have close people that I trust and so many - oh so many - don't really want to patiently hear the intricacies of how abuse and sense of self and sexuality got all tangled up for many years and that it is a process to unwind it. Honestly, it feels like people didn't care when it happened and people don't care now either. Many now just want to hear that it happened and that you've accepted it and now you're better and what an inspiration you are to other people. That's one I hear a lot - you can inspire others. It's another way of making the other person feel good because they think they are being supportive but they are really continuing to dismiss. It's more of the same. There's a bunch of public figures in the last few years who have come out as abuse victims but again, many of them are held up as inspiring figures but the details or the dynamics are avoided because it's too messy and makes too many people have to feel things that they'd rather not feel.

I wrote this because I want to move on and I have to untangle this or untether my self-image and sense of worth to the sexual abuse and my reaction to it and my beliefs about myself before, during and after. I can't ever change it but I believe I can start to get some distance from it as being this thing that I continue to hide from others or think that I still have to do that. I'm tired of feeling like I have to hide something that happened to me, that I had a reaction to, that I'm ashamed of. I'm letting go of the shame and while I do that, the sadness and rage of being abandoned and not cared for is wanting expression. I don't want to feel like I am less than others my age any longer. I'm sick of it. Since my life doesn't fit an image of what I think it should be, I feel less than. I also think if only I can catch up and look like everyone else, I'll be acceptable. I've avoided life because I've been afraid of being discovered for what I did or how my family treated me. I've lived in a lot of fantasy of "one day, I'll live like everyone else and I'll show them how great I really am" and I see it's just been a coping mechanism. I'm not really living - I'm surviving and coping and avoiding. I'm not enjoying, I'm not relating, I'm not letting go, I'm not trusting, I'm not opening. I want to live my life. I can write all of this because my sense of self-worth is coming up more and more and I just see how badly treated I was and for how long I believed that I somehow caused it or deserved it and now I see that I didn't deserve it or cause it but if you believe that about yourself, you tend to get treated badly and you tend to live a small life avoiding harm. That's what I did. I don't want to be treated badly anymore and I want to be able to stand up for myself and a big part of that means not being afraid that if I do stand up for myself, no one will instantly be able to diminish me by being able to say what I did after my abuse and be able to render me worthless or laughable or unworthy in an instant. I am so afraid of my past being used against me which means I still judge myself harshly. I am having a hard time seeing myself as a worthy adult male. I had such a negative image of men that now to be one and to not trust men or to have judged ALL men as "bad" is confusing. I'm at this crux of having an abused boy inside of me, being physically a man while having spent a lifetime of hating men while having had sexual interactions with men and having a crazy, needy, selfish, cloying mother at the helm and not being able to connect to men properly and let go of women properly. I was trapped and I've been trapped and I want to be untrapped.
 
Ed thank you for posting this. I am so sorry what happened to you and how it has dogged you through your life.

I felt adrift as a child, lost, born into a family with a lot of self absorbed crazy. My role was to be the 'good child' never creating any waves. "You are the rock of the family" I heard from the earliest age. After my parents separated, my mom began to lean on me as a surrogate husband. With a narcissistic father and parents who constantly fought, I never experienced intimacy. When I was 8, I took that need for intimacy to a teenage boy who sexualized it and made me pay a high price. I didn't tell my family because that would have created waves. I have blamed myself for taking that need to him and felt guilt and shame about the constant resexualizing it through my SSA fantasies. I am now understanding how it played out as a kid and why I have struggled sexually for so long.

I have felt like 'other', 'less than', 'apart from' other men for so much of my life. Hearing stories like yours which so mirror my own has been a source of significant healing for me. I hated hearing other men open up about their struggles, seeing the support they would receive and knowing that I had to keep my abuse and SSA struggles to myself because those were so awful that they couldn't be shared.

I share this to say, I understand parts of your story.

I am so happy to hear you say that your self worth is coming up and you are understanding that what happened to you wasn't your fault and how it has affected you. Don't give up. You have a unique role to play in the world. A role only you can play. Keep up the fighting for the truth. You deserve life.
 

Ferguson

Registrant
The boy in me wants the intoxication of being shamed, abused, harmed, because at least that felt like something. Hit me but please don't blank me.

Thanks for your words. Especially "to start to get some distance from it as being this thing that I continue to hide from others"

So much identification.

Thanks
 
@EdfromNYC thank you for sharing, letting me connect to so much that I can understand emotionally. That parents not there, no having friends per se, not dating, not doing what seemed the thing to do? When I mention that last, I want to say it in terms of what normal teens do, though that's nuanced, it's not so nuanced that this emotional connection to what you're sharing isn't known well.

The feeling of being used while desperate to be seen, accepted; to believe I'm worth being with. I know that so deeply, it's always pained me emotionally when retelling. Though, not so much here, here where I can be known, and the words seen connect.

I needed to read what you wrote here. I feel trusted, I feel accepted, I feel that you care about what you're saying here, and want to be you as best you can be. I'm very awkwardly trying to convey how much that means to me. It's sort of vulnerable, I mean, I am sharing that reading this, and knowing you from it feels like I'm here with you. I don't know how to convey it better?

I see you, and I am so glad to know you.
 

Jacob S

Registrant
The boy in me wants the intoxication of being shamed, abused, harmed, because at least that felt like something. Hit me but please don't blank me.

wow, so well put. I might borrow this from time to time if that's ok as it explains me so well.
 
I want to be able to stand up for myself and a big part of that means not being afraid that if I do stand up for myself, no one will instantly be able to diminish me by being able to say what I did after my abuse and be able to render me worthless or laughable or unworthy in an instant. I am so afraid of my past being used against me which means I still judge myself harshly. I am having a hard time seeing myself as a worthy adult male. I had such a negative image of men that now to be one and to not trust men or to have judged ALL men as "bad" is confusing. I'm at this crux of having an abused boy inside of me, being physically a man while having spent a lifetime of hating men while having had sexual interactions with men and having a crazy, needy, selfish, cloying mother at the helm and not being able to connect to men properly and let go of women properly. I was trapped and I've been trapped and I want to be untrapped.
Ed, You are standing up for yourself when you write from the heart as you have here and elsewhere on this site. I have heard it said that "courage is feeling the fear and doing it anyway" and you have done that, and thus inspired and emboldened me more than I can express. I identify with much of what you shared here and elsewhere. I have spent a lifetime feeling different from other men and wanting to be accepted by other men and not knowing how to connect... of "being trapped and wanting to be untrapped" - this last phrase is something that I don't think I have ever worded like that in my own mind, but it accurately describes a way of thinking and a way of being that I learned as a child in order to cope with the trauma that I lived with. This way of being (being trapped) is hard to unlearn as an adult - and harder still when one does not even realize he is trapped - if that makes sense.

At any rate, I just really wanted to offer you some encouragement for you to hang in there and I hope it helps you to know that you have helped others. You have certainly helped me with your words and descriptions of your experiences - and I very much appreciate it and wish I could offer you some encouragement as well. Without sounding preachy, I want to say that I believe that life has purpose and that each of us are loved and that our purpose for living is to help others - and you have done that. Peace and healing to you.
 
I've known from the first time I read one of your posts that you and I are kindred spirits. Our journeys have been very much alike and the feelings carried have been the same. A difference may be that my mother was in fact my first perpetrator and beyond cloying, she used me sexually from a very early age in ways that devastated me. She also introduced me to what would become a secondary facet of my sexualized self, cross-dressing which I discuss in a piece listed below. But all of that made me a prized target for predators living next door and I was introduced to same sex acting out early. It too became a feature of my coping style.

Yes, we need to release the shame, which can be very difficult to do, especially if we continue our acting out behavior. That, of course, is more easily said than done because the behavior was one way to soothe ourselves against the terror and rage we carried but could not tolerate feeling or even admitting. Coming here has been a great gift since hearing from other men who've struggled in the same way offers some relief from the shame of being uniquely depraved.

My therapist keeps reminding me that healing comes when we are able to access acceptance and love we didn't receive when we were boys. I'm finding it is through spiritual practice that I touch into such a place. It could be called a loving God, an all-forgiving God. I have a bronze statue on my altar of the Buddhist figure Kuan Yin holding an infant. I also have found images of babies nursing at their mother's breast. We come in with a natural and profound need for nourishment. The photos often show the infants eyes fixed on its mother, its hands reaching up toward her. We learn about safety and trust through these exchanges... though many of us did not have that experience. Mothers can be depressed, preoccupied, frightened... a thousand and one things that make them unavailable. My mother said I was a "difficult child" and I'm coming to believe that I was crying all the time because I COULDN'T get what I needed at her breast. Instead I got her depression, her fear, her anxiety over sexual feelings SHE was having with this infant in her arms whose penis would respond when she rubbed a silk petticoat across it.

So our stories are horrific and the journey to peace and serenity a perilous one. But it really is the only one worth taking. Losing ourselves, as we often have in fantasy and sexual acting out, is a guarantee of continued suffering. We need to forgive ourselves, and learn to cherish this life which is all we've been given. It is not easy work and we need all the support we can get as we pursue it. I wish you well Ed. I'm so glad you keep speaking your truth. We need to do that. And we need to treat ourselves with exquisite kindness as we invest our energy in action that is life affirming rather than life diminishing.
 
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Ed, so many of your feelings and struggles as a young man seeking male affection and acceptance ring so very true to me. I have felt many of those feelings with a huge father-wound that desperately needed filling.

I think this is how my Minister-perp was able to groom me to the point of allowing him into my apartment, and then groping me, though I was able to stop it before it went further.
 

Mischa

New Registrant
Ed, being from a totally different background, from a different part of the world, a different continent, reading your post and identifying with so much of it, made me realize yet again how much of the misery of our lives, the alienation from others, the intense loneliness that might not even be obvious/noticeable to others, the intense conflict between what we believe we ought to be and would have been had it not been for the abuse, on the one hand, and the person we were made to believe we are, on the other, was inflicted on us by someone whom we thought we could identify with and whose attention we thought we needed. It took me more than four decades to get to a point where I can see and experience a glimmer of peaceful resemblance between myself and (some) other men. To really rid myself of the alienating perceptions I had of other men, to be fair to them, slowly allowing myself to see and accept myself as a man -- these two processes which ran concurrently, eventually brought me to a point where I can actually empathize with men and with myself. The greater the peace I found in myself, the greater the connection I started feeling with members of my own gender. Conversely, the deeper the connection I felt with good men, the more I accepted the man I wished to be and believed I really am.
Thank you for expressing your inner conflict so eloquently.
 

nltsaved

Registrant
I look back at the kid that I was who was abused by an adult male and then who acted out with more men after that and I have a very hard time not blaming myself. I see that I was abused and sexualized and that I starting acting out a pattern that was set in motion by someone else but I also see that I "sought" it after the fact. I didn't have any attention at home, no affection, no care, no one seeing me and I mistakenly (such a gigantic mistake) took the abuse as being seen, affection, being cared about. But I see it was just men taking advantage of an extremely disconnected boy, men who knowingly used a boy for their own grubby needs where they could use someone and be done with him when they wished.

Looking back, I couldn't help myself. I had no way out. Once the first episode happened, I felt responsible and guilty and ashamed but also physically touched which I desperately needed but it was by a stranger who disappeared right after sexually intoxicating me and utilizing me for his own sexual gratification while seeming to make it about my gratification that I wasn't seeking from him. I was seeking help, connection, direction, someone to talk to me, someone to see me, someone to help me get away from a fucking crazy, cloying mother and father who didn't care - I just wanted a male in my life who cared about me and made me really feel cared about and valuable. And then this fucking piece of shit comes along at an incredibly vulnerable time and takes all that stuff that is swirling inside of me and he tells me through his behavior and actions that I am really seeking sex and that is what this is all about.

I am sad and ashamed of what happened and that no one in my family of origin cared enough or paid attention enough to me to realize that something had happened. Because I didn't come home beaten up or obviously assaulted, life went on and no one EVER asked me anything. Ever. They wanted me to be the good, quiet one. And I was. I became bitter and edgy but still played the role of the good, quiet one while seeking to re-enact the abuse (the mistaken attention and affection) and that secret just grew and grew and grew and I mistook the secret for my orientation and I didn't grow up with my peers and I didn't date and I drifted more and more into my own reality and disconnected more and more from real relationships and here I am now, wanting relationships and realizing how much time and opportunity I let go by and I am in the process of accepting all of that and accepting how I thought of myself for decades and wanting to let go because I finally realize how untrue it all was but I don't have close people that I trust and so many - oh so many - don't really want to patiently hear the intricacies of how abuse and sense of self and sexuality got all tangled up for many years and that it is a process to unwind it. Honestly, it feels like people didn't care when it happened and people don't care now either. Many now just want to hear that it happened and that you've accepted it and now you're better and what an inspiration you are to other people. That's one I hear a lot - you can inspire others. It's another way of making the other person feel good because they think they are being supportive but they are really continuing to dismiss. It's more of the same. There's a bunch of public figures in the last few years who have come out as abuse victims but again, many of them are held up as inspiring figures but the details or the dynamics are avoided because it's too messy and makes too many people have to feel things that they'd rather not feel.

I wrote this because I want to move on and I have to untangle this or untether my self-image and sense of worth to the sexual abuse and my reaction to it and my beliefs about myself before, during and after. I can't ever change it but I believe I can start to get some distance from it as being this thing that I continue to hide from others or think that I still have to do that. I'm tired of feeling like I have to hide something that happened to me, that I had a reaction to, that I'm ashamed of. I'm letting go of the shame and while I do that, the sadness and rage of being abandoned and not cared for is wanting expression. I don't want to feel like I am less than others my age any longer. I'm sick of it. Since my life doesn't fit an image of what I think it should be, I feel less than. I also think if only I can catch up and look like everyone else, I'll be acceptable. I've avoided life because I've been afraid of being discovered for what I did or how my family treated me. I've lived in a lot of fantasy of "one day, I'll live like everyone else and I'll show them how great I really am" and I see it's just been a coping mechanism. I'm not really living - I'm surviving and coping and avoiding. I'm not enjoying, I'm not relating, I'm not letting go, I'm not trusting, I'm not opening. I want to live my life. I can write all of this because my sense of self-worth is coming up more and more and I just see how badly treated I was and for how long I believed that I somehow caused it or deserved it and now I see that I didn't deserve it or cause it but if you believe that about yourself, you tend to get treated badly and you tend to live a small life avoiding harm. That's what I did. I don't want to be treated badly anymore and I want to be able to stand up for myself and a big part of that means not being afraid that if I do stand up for myself, no one will instantly be able to diminish me by being able to say what I did after my abuse and be able to render me worthless or laughable or unworthy in an instant. I am so afraid of my past being used against me which means I still judge myself harshly. I am having a hard time seeing myself as a worthy adult male. I had such a negative image of men that now to be one and to not trust men or to have judged ALL men as "bad" is confusing. I'm at this crux of having an abused boy inside of me, being physically a man while having spent a lifetime of hating men while having had sexual interactions with men and having a crazy, needy, selfish, cloying mother at the helm and not being able to connect to men properly and let go of women properly. I was trapped and I've been trapped and I want to be untrapped.

I see you, I understand you and I absolutely identify with every word you said.
Hit me up anytime, my ear is always open. Love you bud in the most sincere way. We are brothers in more ways than you know.
 
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