Lasting effects

Good Day,

I have been thinking recently about the impact of abuse on my everyday life. I came up with two things that I've noticed. One is how the abuse made me feel socially isolated, or exiled, from others and how this has greatly impacted my life up this very day. The other is how said abuse impacts my decision making ability.

With regard to feeling exiled, I distinctly remember feeling exiled from my siblings at a time which had to have started after the abuse. And this feeling has impacted how I have felt and acted around others ever since. This feeling, and the resultant avoidant behavior, are so strong and well ingrained that I think they have resulted in me developing a personailty disorder. Of course there are other factors that contribute to such an outcome, like temperament and general environment growing up. Nevertheless, it's pretty clear to me the role of abuse on my personality development. The expression "socially non-existent" comes to mind when I think about my "way of being" around others in a group. And, generally speaking, social avoidance is how I roll.

As far as my decision making abilty, I'd say that the abuse has impacted that greatly also. It seems to me I have an uncanny knack for ruining a good thing! And this dynamic has occurred over and over again in my life, up to this day, just like the feeling and avoidant behavior I describe above has. I believe that awareness of such negative impacts of abuse is a helpful thing. It's nice to have a place to post stuff like this, so thank you to all those who make this place possible. If you've read this thank you for your time. Please feel free to share your thoughts and experiences surrounding this topic of how abuse/assault affects your everyday life.

Casmir
 
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Hi Casmir,

Early in my healing it struck me how every decision I made was tainted by the abuse, and I went thru all the stages of grief about it, I was pissed when I figured out all that it did to me. All the hurt, shame & fear changed who I would've, could've & should've been from childhood on, how I thought about myself and issues around me, certainly effected any and all decisions I ever made. Sure it changed my temperament, who I was, how I felt about myself, the shame was debilitating. I lived a good part of my life hiding in plain sight to not draw any attention to myself as I thought people could see the shame on me if they looked long enough. I struggled with masculinity all my life, always feeling less than so I avoided men, had few male friends, etc. Even when I dealt with the shame and healed from that, I was still left with 40+ years of "doing it that way", It took time and effort to push through my fears and complacency of the rut I lived in and made the conscience decision to put myself out there in the world. I became an assistant scout leader when my boys were in the program for obvious reasons, but it helped me a lot with dealing with other guys, forming healthy male bonds and learned to have fun without all my old baggage. It was healing as I finally felt what a happy childhood was like. I even joined a choir and ended up loving it, all things I couldn't dream of doing 20 years ago. You're in good company with your feelings and they are normal in our abnormal situation. The good news is that we can heal and move beyond what holds us back now.

George
 
Hi Casmir,

Early in my healing it struck me how every decision I made was tainted by the abuse, and I went thru all the stages of grief about it, I was pissed when I figured out all that it did to me. All the hurt, shame & fear changed who I would've, could've & should've been from childhood on, how I thought about myself and issues around me, certainly effected any and all decisions I ever made. Sure it changed my temperament, who I was, how I felt about myself, the shame was debilitating. I lived a good part of my life hiding in plain sight to not draw any attention to myself as I thought people could see the shame on me if they looked long enough. I struggled with masculinity all my life, always feeling less than so I avoided men, had few male friends, etc. Even when I dealt with the shame and healed from that, I was still left with 40+ years of "doing it that way", It took time and effort to push through my fears and complacency of the rut I lived in and made the conscience decision to put myself out there in the world. I became an assistant scout leader when my boys were in the program for obvious reasons, but it helped me a lot with dealing with other guys, forming healthy male bonds and learned to have fun without all my old baggage. It was healing as I finally felt what a happy childhood was like. I even joined a choir and ended up loving it, all things I couldn't dream of doing 20 years ago. You're in good company with your feelings and they are normal in our abnormal situation. The good news is that we can heal and move beyond what holds us back now.

George
Awesome story, George! Thanks for sharing it. It's good to know.
 

savage_sid

Registrant
Sure it changed my temperament, who I was, how I felt about myself, the shame was debilitating. I lived a good part of my life hiding in plain sight to not draw any attention to myself as I thought people could see the shame on me if they looked long enough.
Too true.

I became an assistant scout leader when my boys were in the program for obvious reasons, but it helped me a lot with dealing with other guys, forming healthy male bonds and learned to have fun without all my old baggage. It was healing as I finally felt what a happy childhood was like.
I want to add my voice to the group that found being involved with my kids in boy scouts to be a remarkable experience. I learned a lot about how to be a dad, and have been having a lot of fun with my kids.
 

ODAT

Registrant
One of the things the abuse left me with was a total lack of self-worth. I always felt if people knew what “I did” at 8 that they would want nothing to do with me. So I lost my sense of self and became what whoever I was with wanted me to be.
Then in my 30-40’s I acted out the abuse and my self-esteem plummeted to where I hated myself. Twenty years later and with the help of MS this past year, I am starting to recover. I understand now things were not my fault and that I wasn’t a willing partner in the abuse at 8. I also importantly learned that I was re-enacting the trauma later in life and I’m learning to reconcile with that now…
 
One of the things the abuse left me with was a total lack of self-worth. I always felt if people knew what “I did” at 8 that they would want nothing to do with me. So I lost my sense of self and became what whoever I was with wanted me to be.
Then in my 30-40’s I acted out the abuse and my self-esteem plummeted to where I hated myself. Twenty years later and with the help of MS this past year, I am starting to recover. I understand now things were not my fault and that I wasn’t a willing partner in the abuse at 8. I also importantly learned that I was re-enacting the trauma later in life and I’m learning to reconcile with that now…
Thanks for your reply. ODAT. Re-enacting the original trauma is certainly a lasting effect for me as well. I remember seeing something recently that said self-compassion is the antidote to guilt. Your response brings that to mind in a very real way. Thank you.
 
WOW ODAT, how did I forget that lasting effect? Shame due to a screwed up sexuality, my own guilt in going back for the 8-12 ongoing abuse at puberty & becoming highly sexualized at 11, the sick abusive fantasies in my head starting at that age, my acting out starting at 11-12. The guilt & shame of living a secret double life/lie, the pressure from keeping all the shame & dirty secrets locked up in my head. If that wasn't enough crap, add the twisted self loathing & on going self prosecution of our child selves so much so that so many of us can't even bare to look at a picture of our child selves from back in the day. All of this abuse born and not original equipment...
 

ODAT

Registrant
WOW ODAT, how did I forget that lasting effect? Shame due to a screwed up sexuality, my own guilt in going back for the 8-12 ongoing abuse at puberty & becoming highly sexualized at 11, the sick abusive fantasies in my head starting at that age, my acting out starting at 11-12. The guilt & shame of living a secret double life/lie, the pressure from keeping all the shame & dirty secrets locked up in my head. If that wasn't enough crap, add the twisted self loathing & on going self prosecution of our child selves so much so that so many of us can't even bare to look at a picture of our child selves from back in the day. All of this abuse born and not original equipment...

George-wow! That’s exactly right. I did all of those things too. The abuse sexualized me by age 9. I was looking at pornography and when I learned and was able to masturbate, it was an everyday occurrence.
I was so wrapped up in my own head about sex, but so ashamed to talk about what “I did”(but really, what was done to me.) I felt some physiological pleasure so I thought I enjoyed it and was a “willing” partner. (But in reality, I was 8!) My childhood and innocence were stolen. While I can never get that back, I’m trying to get that back now. Thoughts of acting out again after 27 years of marriage have put my marriage in jeopardy. I’m reaching out to a lot of people on MS to stay strong. The guilt and shame linger after all these years…
 

manipulated

Moderator
Staff member
The guilt and shame linger after all these years…
Toughest once of moving on with life when the past boils out from years (4 decades for me) of denial and repression. Those scary double lives explode. Weekends of Recovery helped me soooo much with this and each has been a jump start to the next stage of moving from just surviving to starting to thrive again.
 
Casmier123 and ODAT, i can relate to both of your statements.
And, generally speaking, social avoidance is how I roll.
Was and today still am though i think now it more of a concesious choice. I work in a sales type job and as I tell my T that role is just me playing a part a chacerter that is not the real me. I am an introvert with low self-esteem who is always critical of myself. I do wonder how much was due to the CSA or was this the person i was going to be no mater what. I know the events played a role just for me hard to fully rationalize.

It seems to me I have an uncanny knack for ruining a good thing! And this dynamic has occurred over and over again in my life, up to this
I think maybe you are like me in that i feel if anything good happens i dont deserve it and it wont last, it will come crashing down. Maybe i am the cause of things going bad with my negative thoughts but i cant stop them. This past week my T and i decided to pause on the CSA and work on my self compassion and confidence. I am tired of like this and just want to move on.

My point is I guess to say you are not alone. I wish i had the answers or knew how to change so I could give you some advice. All we can do is share and know its not our own doing that caused this.

One of the things the abuse left me with was a total lack of self-worth. I always felt if people knew what “I did” at 8 that they would want nothing to do with me. So I lost my sense of self and became what whoever I was with wanted me to be.
Then in my 30-40’s I acted out the abuse
It does seem like everyone here has the self-worth struggle. There is definitely the thought of if people knew what occrued with me they would hate me. Maybe not cause i was abused but if they knew i used the memories or fantasies everyone would hate me. It is still a huge fear in my life today.
 

ODAT

Registrant
Casmier123 and ODAT, i can relate to both of your statements.

Was and today still am though i think now it more of a concesious choice. I work in a sales type job and as I tell my T that role is just me playing a part a chacerter that is not the real me. I am an introvert with low self-esteem who is always critical of myself. I do wonder how much was due to the CSA or was this the person i was going to be no mater what. I know the events played a role just for me hard to fully rationalize.


I think maybe you are like me in that i feel if anything good happens i dont deserve it and it wont last, it will come crashing down. Maybe i am the cause of things going bad with my negative thoughts but i cant stop them. This past week my T and i decided to pause on the CSA and work on my self compassion and confidence. I am tired of like this and just want to move on.

My point is I guess to say you are not alone. I wish i had the answers or knew how to change so I could give you some advice. All we can do is share and know its not our own doing that caused this.


It does seem like everyone here has the self-worth struggle. There is definitely the thought of if people knew what occrued with me they would hate me. Maybe not cause i was abused but if they knew i used the memories or fantasies everyone would hate me. It is still a huge fear in my life today.
Yes, the shame can be overwhelming.I’m married for 17 years yet all my fantasies are with men and
usually with me being the abused 8 year old boy…
 

Ydna

New Registrant
I agree with the principle - like a sapling tree with the main trunk cut off just above the first branch nodes, from there it grows two "main" trunks, never the same, different paths.
Of course we have no way of determining who or what we would have been before the "cut", but for me it was an eye opener when 48 years after I was 11 when the court, whilst trying my abuser, asked me what I thought the ramifications were on my life. It was like opening Pandora's box. Now I see how trying to feel "normal" for my lifetime has been shadowing me. Now I look back and can "see" my two trunks. Now I really see how I am different from the other forest trees but at the same time I have two trunks, not just one! I have insight into how the "two trunkers" live and feel! As a tree, I still bear fruit, perhaps twice as much!
The fact that you are here means you care. a Caring Quality in anyone is a lovable quality, if you care for yourself, you really do actually love yourself and when you love what you are, you can love others for what they are.
With brotherly affection.
 

manipulated

Moderator
Staff member
if you care for yourself, you really do actually love yourself and when you love what you are, you can love others for what they are.
Great words. Thanks for sharing them.
 

SABoy

Registrant
Yes, the shame can be overwhelming.I’m married for 17 years yet all my fantasies are with men and
usually with me being the abused 8 year old boy…
So do I. And my fantasies will get me locked up if pen reaches paper.....
 

cwj

New Registrant
It seems that you all have been on this site for a while and this is my first post. I hope this is an OK place to begin. Actually, I registered on this site years ago and have re-visited infrequently but never joined in. I don't know if I fit here because I'm a gay man who was sexually abused by my mother's best friend (a woman) when I was 10-12. That has nothing to do with being gay except that she saw how vulnerable I was and therefore unlikely to tell anyone. I was also sexually assaulted (by a man) - raped - when I was 20. I've been in therapy for years and remotely mentioned the abuse, but never tackled it directly. I'm grateful that this is a place where men can share things they don't tell anyone else. I don't have the fantasies that are being described here, but I have many other issues that have haunted me throughout my adult life. I realize that when the abuse happened so long ago (I'm now 66), I simply shut down emotionally and immediately was ashamed and knew that I could never tell anyone about what happened. The shame has been with me ever since - unrelenting and overpowering. I was raised in a family that for all outward appearances looked perfect. But behind closed doors, there was physical and emotional abuse, severe neglect, and unrelenting bullying by my father and brother. All this served to increase the shame and create a belief that I am damaged goods. I understand now how the various forms of abuse are intertwined. It has been easier to deal with the non-sexual abuse until now. I've made many bad choices and lost relationships, have innumerable regrets, feel stupid and angry over lost opportunities, and generally have a fundamental belief that I am an imposter - looking great on the outside but emotionally feeling like no one can ever know who I really am and what happened. For years, I've told lie after lie to try and hide my true self and my history. Ultimately I've trapped myself in the twisted stories created out of my shame and belief that I am less than. Sometimes, I question whether or not what happened is real, or did I just make up that she groomed me until she got me into her bedroom. I've told a few people about the abuse but afterward, I feel embarrassed about it and back away. The shame is unrelenting. I've looked for a local therapist who works with male survivors, but can't find anyone. I want to connect with other men who share my experience, and I'm sure there are many out there. I feel isolated. I hope that this can be the beginning of recovery.
 

Steve E.

Registrant
I've looked for a local therapist who works with male survivors, but can't find anyone. I want to connect with other men who share my experience, and I'm sure there are many out there. I feel isolated. I hope that this can be the beginning of recovery.
Hi, cwj,

I hope so, too.

It seems to me that you see your situation pretty clearly and are in a good position to continue healing. This forum is a wonderful place to learn and grow, but it’s also a place to be assured that you are not alone - there are indeed many others of us who are just like you. Sometimes when my soul is weary, I come here just to remind myself that there are men who know and accept my burdens without question.

A therapist who understands male CSA survivors is worth their weight in gold. For some reason, I felt more comfortable talking about this with another man. However, I can see where an equally skilled woman could provide an equally valuable amount of insight and hope. I wish you luck in finding one who you can talk with.

Steve
 
I agree with the principle - like a sapling tree with the main trunk cut off just above the first branch nodes, from there it grows two "main" trunks, never the same, different paths.
Of course we have no way of determining who or what we would have been before the "cut", but for me it was an eye opener when 48 years after I was 11 when the court, whilst trying my abuser, asked me what I thought the ramifications were on my life. It was like opening Pandora's box. Now I see how trying to feel "normal" for my lifetime has been shadowing me. Now I look back and can "see" my two trunks. Now I really see how I am different from the other forest trees but at the same time I have two trunks, not just one! I have insight into how the "two trunkers" live and feel! As a tree, I still bear fruit, perhaps twice as much!
The fact that you are here means you care. a Caring Quality in anyone is a lovable quality, if you care for yourself, you really do actually love yourself and when you love what you are, you can love others for what they are.
With brotherly affection.
I was moved to tears by your post. I have only ever despised how I am different. It is almost too much for me to consider loving myself the way you describe. I am trying to love what I am.
 

cwj

New Registrant
Hi, cwj,

I hope so, too.

It seems to me that you see your situation pretty clearly and are in a good position to continue healing. This forum is a wonderful place to learn and grow, but it’s also a place to be assured that you are not alone - there are indeed many others of us who are just like you. Sometimes when my soul is weary, I come here just to remind myself that there are men who know and accept my burdens without question.

A therapist who understands male CSA survivors is worth their weight in gold. For some reason, I felt more comfortable talking about this with another man. However, I can see where an equally skilled woman could provide an equally valuable amount of insight and hope. I wish you luck in finding one who you can talk with.

Steve
Hi, cwj,

I hope so, too.

It seems to me that you see your situation pretty clearly and are in a good position to continue healing. This forum is a wonderful place to learn and grow, but it’s also a place to be assured that you are not alone - there are indeed many others of us who are just like you. Sometimes when my soul is weary, I come here just to remind myself that there are men who know and accept my burdens without question.

A therapist who understands male CSA survivors is worth their weight in gold. For some reason, I felt more comfortable talking about this with another man. However, I can see where an equally skilled woman could provide an equally valuable amount of insight and hope. I wish you luck in finding one who you can talk with.

Steve
Steve - Thanks so much for your reply to my post. I've been working with a woman therapist for quite a while and feel that we have reached a 'comfortable' place and she seems reticent to discuss my sexual abuse issues beyond a surface level. I believe I would benefit greatly from working with a competent male therapist and I've done extensive searches in my area (Albuquerque). There is only one therapist advertising in Santa Fe and I know for a fact that he actually has a history of being a perpetrator himself. I'm grateful for this interaction, however. I believe that communicating with other male survivors is going to be really helpful. Thanks again.
 

ODAT

Registrant
Did you ever think of working with Therapists on Zoom meetings?
You might find a lot more who could
do meetings on-line with you…
 
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