My story, and first time connecting with survivors

Hello all,

I’m a survivor, although flashbacks and dreams make me feel like I’m still fighting to survive.

I am finally facing the end of 2018, a new years resolution and promise that I would begin to try and heal from childhood abuse. I am also here because for the first time I decided to call RAINN. Through that discussion, I both learned and realized there is value in connecting with survivors. This is tough for me because I fear other men, from doctors, dentists, counselors and in friendships... Any touch or emotional conversation with men has always caused me anxiety. But I'm here... I'm here...

The last two years have been tough for me, particularly because my flashbacks and dreams have been more vivid than they have ever been. I've gone through spells of being physically sick from them, as if they'd just happened. The lack of sleep and depression have gripped me for the better part of this year as well.

Between 9-12 a good friends dad abused me. My friend would share often what his father was doing, and I honestly didn't know what to do with that information. Other friends poked fun at what was happening to him, and how gross it was. Somehow it never got back to any neighboring parents.

I put myself in danger of being abused. The worst chapters of my life began when my friend begged me one night to sleepover, he didn't want to be alone with his Dad, and figured nothing would happen if we were a team. That first night after we were asleep, I was lead to the living room... My life would change from here on, and it was my life as the replacement. I guess I just thought it wasn't that bad and I could help.

I tried to tell my parents one day, they laughed and said "Gristin, come on now. Watch what you say, it’s not appropriate…“ They could not begin to entertain the idea our neighbor could do such a thing. I had to drop it. I never brought it up again to them.

Days after that the Police came to my house because I’d shot my BB Gun at my neighbors house. I wanted to tell them why, but made up a story that it was an accident. I ended up apologizing to my friends father, my abuser. Standing at his door, he leaned over to me to shake my hand and said “This was a misunderstanding wasn’t it, we’ll be fine” with a wink. I knew not only was I in trouble from my folks, but I would likely face him alone again.

The nightmare continued with my friends father, there was no way out. And you know it escalated to a point where while randomly at play in the neighborhood, my throat would clench closed, I couldn’t breath. I now know that was anxiety and stress.

My friends father also attended my church. We had a new priest at my church from a transfer, of which I was an Alter Boy. Father had made several advances including touching and saying suggestive things. For the life I don't know how I escaped that.

The thing about this, I have never spoke of that until now. Why? My friends father who abused me, was friendly with father at church and also sat in front watching the entire service. I hated kneeling in front of the alter while father broke the bread, as he was sitting right behind me.

And there is no way at the time I could say anything, because the threats if I said anything, I'd pay, and everyone would know “our secret.” Father was later relocated to Boston by the church, after he was charged with sex abuse of minors.

My friend and his father moved, have never heard from him to this day... I've dug in the depths of facebook and the web, but wish so badly to find my friend again.

The irony is that my Parents asked if Father had ever touched me, I denied it of course. The mystery is why they didn’t hear me when I disclosed about our neighbor? The catholic church was the backbone of our family, more than the neighbor. I digress though…

Retrospect and Healing -
Everything is amazing in retrospect, if I could just get over reliving this trauma over and over I feel like I might be free for once in my life.

I was not a good looking kid and nothing special to be sure. I was really nerdy, hyper, lived for trout fishing, and dirty all the time. What was it that made me a vulnerable target? Convenience perhaps? I've read so many things on ideas as to why these happen to kids in hopes to find the magic answer. Even with all the possible reasons though, I don't think the question ever goes away. Maybe I'm paying for mistakes made by another, in another lifetime?

I've spent a lifetime fighting to be greater than that darkness, but it always seems to be right there in the shadows. Growing up in the Catholic Church I'm reminded by the advice given from Father - "To speak of evil, is to give credit to evil." That still haunts me.

Today, socially, I’m known as a great guy! A true friend of friends and family man. I receive praises for all the good in me and what I do for those around me. Compliments give me anxiety, they scare me to death. See, I had been to the darkness, and it would be stuck on me for an eternity - that is how I feel. I do live my life as pure and kind to others as possible, a personal choice, and extreme to fight against the unclean part of my heart. No one knows but a counselor or two, but even in sharing… The details I've refused to share.

I consider myself a controlled alcoholic, and have been drinking since I was 12 years old. This means, I’ve known that if I abuse this method of escape too much, I won't have that vice to escape darker times. I'm not suicidal, though I have attempted twice in my younger life, and been to the line more than I can count. Fact is, I’m not going anywhere, that much I've decided with conviction. I have two great kids that I live for each and every single day. I love being a parent, and take pride in being all heart for them.

My marriage ended 7 years ago, which friends and family were pleased. Emotionally crushed, I would learn from others how abusive she was verbally, and unkind to me. I just didn't see it. I ask myself often "Why didn't I see it?" I think there's a problem there I've yet to sort out.

I long to have real love and companionship, but I remain so guarded still. I should be grateful for those fine ladies around me trying, but I hit a wall and pull back. I know that hurts them.

So that is the gist of me, and here I am. I know from reading here clearly I'm not alone, and while I know this is a good thing, I will still have my guard up because it's a trust thing for me.

Thank you for listening, and I’m happy to have found this place because of RAINN.


Hi Gistin and welcome to the site I am pretty new myself and just joined a couple months ago, but it was a relief for me finding this site and realizing others could understand me. Please reach out if you ever need to talk with a fellow newbie.

Take care.
Hello Gistin, There is a lot that you've written that resonates with me. I know, as you mention, you're not alone, and that's helped me as well. I too called RAINN when I couldn't take it anymore. They directed me to a local Sexual Violence Center which helped me sort out the beginnings of recovery.

I find each step of healing has a lot of me to deal with, and I often find myself readdressing things I thought I'd processed. There are ups and downs, and a lot more downs this year. I learned about the Window of Tolerance this year, which goes with Survival Mode and the Polyvagal systems. Those insights to why I do what I've done or do have helped me see myself as the child I was, and who has hidden inside me. The odd part about my therapy is that too often that hidden child interacts with circumstances rather than I the adult, parent, sibling, friend.

The time I've spent here at MaleSurvivor has been a huge effort to explore who I am and why I do what I have done and do. I see that in what most write here. Sometimes relief is needed and there's poetry, books or music, though this site brings a lot of what's noted, from the realm of CSA.

This year I learned a lot about childhood Emotional Neglect and CEN is what I've been exploring since I fell into a sever depression over 2 months ago. I found relief and these past 2 weeks have kept me looking at CEN.

I hope you have a therapist, or are considering to find one? There's a resource to search for one on the MS home page in the Survivors tab. There's also a lot of information about what we can do to help ourselves, and those who support us to see what we go through.

Welcome and Best Wishes.
Hi Gistin

Welcome to MS. Sorry for what you had to go through to need a place like this. I am proud you were able to come and reach out for help. Your story will touch a nerve with most here. There are many ways perpetuators get to us they prey on us for their pleasure with no regard of the damage they are doing. Good to meet you and good luck on your healing journey.

Take Care


Hi Gistin - Welcome, and as we say in here, sorry for the reason you are at a site like this. However, at the same time, we get it. We know what can drive us to seek out someplace like this.
I would echo what Ceremony asked - do you have or are you seeking out a therapist? If you're looking, take your time and look into their specialties. If what they specialize in isn't listed, call and ask. It's all anonymous. No one there knows your name or address or telephone number. It's ok to ask since it's your recovery and you deserve to find someone who can guide you in the healing process. That's what I did. Look around. You're worth the work.
Welcome Gistin,
Like you, when I decided it was time to face my past, I looked everywhere on the internet and found this site.
The biggest thing I did in my healing was attend a Weekend Retreat.
So much of what you've shared resonates.
I hope you can believe that none of what was done to you was in any way your fault, nor make you a 'bad' person.
Banjo596, WG, Esterio, Ceremony, and Jack86 -
Thank you all for the welcome, I appreciate it beyond what I can really express.

One of my biggest fears in posting was that my abuser would be on the lookout, somehow match up the story. It feels better that this is a safe place. The therapist I used to see years ago is no longer in the State, so I've already started looking. There's more male therapists in my area of focus, and I can't just go there. It may be what I need though... I just feel safe with a woman, but at times I feel they don't understand from a man point of view.

After posting my story, feelings surfaced that this may be a scarier for me than I thought. I have spent a lifetime hating, regretting, feeling sad, stuffing it down so effectively - I almost feel comfortable with this routine. Why would I leave that "comfort zone"? Really it isn't comfortable, but more convenient and safe for everyone around me. I'm in for a wild ride I'm guessing.

I won't get into anything heavy in this thread because this is Introductions, but I appreciate once again for the welcome. I've witnessed so much respect here, I know this is going to be one healthy resource.

Thank you...


Hi Gistin - WELCOME

I’m glad RAINN helped you to see that a place like MS can be a big help in your healing journey. May it be exactly what you need at this time in your life.

Your story is unique (and well presented) but however it develops, abuse has the same effects of emotional and physical tragedy. If you haven’t already, I hope you consider getting a therapist who can offer direction on your path. It’s been my experience that MS is great for support, empathy, and camaraderie, but a therapist is still needed.

Thanks for reaching out. Take care of Gistin.


As an added comment:
I’m glad you’ve seen other therapists and continue to do so now. It’s so important that you seek someone who will be a good fit for you. It’s sometime easy to forget that the therapy is for YOU and how you will be helped.
Last edited by a moderator:

Thank you for the welcome. I agree, obtaining professional therapy is key to my success, and a community behind you helps in support. I want the weight of years stuffing it all down to be lifted, I really don't see how that is possible at his point in time. One goal at a time, once again thank you for the welcome.

Cheers -


Gistin - walking through what happened will take time and more time. As we said, find a therapist. Good you had one at one time so that part isn't so unknown. Feelings will surface as you work on all of this and it isn't done in a few sessions. Yes, it can be a wild ride and we're here to be on that ride with you. As you said, one goal at a time.
When I began to dig into this with my T, it seemed like the sessions went much too quickly since there was so much I wanted to talk about. After the sessions I would sit out in my truck and cry until I felt like I could concentrate on driving. Sometimes I'd cry most of the way home. After a time, I didn't cry so much, and later on I could just get in, settle myself and start the drive home. Progress. But it took time. Your timeline will be yours, no on else's. Just like all of us in here. (As a side note - it's not like I don't cry or get upset in sessions now. Of course I do, just not as often or for the entire session....). Heal well.....
Thank you for sharing and it is encouraging to hear about your progress. You mentioning crying sounds scary to me, not sure I can articulate as to why. I've read about others and that experience, however perhaps the way you present your experience.

Thank you again WG


Hey Gistin - didn't mean to make it sound scary, it wasn't my intent at all. It's just that for me the deep reality of what was done was surfacing after almost 50 years of never telling. Didn't tell my wife and children until about 6 years ago - I've been married 37 years with 3 great children. They know now.
How you go through all of it will be your own experience. I imagine the crying piece is connected to your past. There's something behind that feeling of seeing crying as scary. For me, after a while, I felt I would never give my perp or my folks the satisfaction of seeing me cry. It was the one thing I felt I could control around them. Through therapy I discovered it's a natural form of release of pent up emotions and feelings.
Take all the time you need to get what you need. We're all here to walk with you.
Again, you're most welcome.
Maybe I'm paying for mistakes made by another, in another lifetime?
No, I truly believe this is just a fallen and broken world. Predators prey on the weak. we were never allowed to be strong enough to be able to fight back. We were victims, nothing more. It was NOT OUR FAULT! ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT!! Our response to any grooming was trying to meet our inner need for love. It was THEY who took advantage of that need that we all have.



What happened to you was not your fault. I was abused by a priest and understand how controlling the Church was several decades ago and sadly for many even today.

I am glad you found your way to MS. It is a wonderful place. It has helped me over the years as I healed. Thank you for sharing your story and I am sorry for the pain it has caused you. Please keep posting as you feel safe.

Thank you for sharing, it is never easy to deal with how our sense of safety, identity and self-worth have been destroyed. I also wish I had someone close a partner/lover but I don't what to go through the countless questions and explaining something unexplainable to them.
Thank you, @F.A., @KMCINVA, @NC-Survivor - This is the most I’ve ever spoke of what happened to me, and it is just the surface. I can’t afford going to therapy, and going just leaves me walking away feeling worse than I started out. I also realize in dealing with emotions, a mechanical approach to doing this myself isn’t working either. I’m at a wall once again...

I’m strong one day, weak the other, and overall doubtful I’ll be fine on the other side. UGH!


Hi Gistin
Welcome! I truly believe you will be safe here. I am really sorry you have to be here though :(
I suffer with anxiety, depression, ADHD, OCD etc. Luckily the medicine helps a lot but I still
live with a low-level depression and anxiety problems. I can't afford a psychologist at the
moment. Therapy has helped but I do get exactly what you are saying about feeling worse.
Also you need to find the right therapist - I've been through about 9 since I was 8 years old. Only
2 of them have been good. But if you find the right one it can make a massive difference.
I am sorry to hear about your marriage. You didn't deserve that either :(
And yeah I am also likely that - strong one day then weak another. Hey even within a day
my mood can change drastically!
Take care :)
I had a season (MANY years) when I could not afford therapy. There are still options: churches and other faith-based groups, 12-step groups (try sexual addiction - that gets you close. plus many of us do have porn issues stemming from the abuse) There are also books you can read and workbooks you can work through. (the Wounded Heart book & workbook was VERY helpful in my journey)
@NC-Survivor thank you for the mention of the Wounded Heart Book & Workbook
Yes, thank you. I just ordered it, have seen it referenced several times.

I feel knowing other people in real life who share your trauma is probably very helpful, a therapist alone can't be it. I'm also aware of church support groups here, but I can't trust their intentions. I reached out to a group here that offers support for sexual violence and abuse. They offer group sessions, which I'm not sure that is what I'm ready to experience. I have a meeting this Friday, to see what is available. Alaska is one big small town, my fear is others finding out... That has always been my fear.

I just want to sit and talk with someone who can really relate, real human interaction, not so much solve any problems in a clinical format.

@LoneWolfX, I've grown up being ADHD and anxiety. My anxiety has been the result of my Alopecia Universalis, which came on my late teens. I have avoided medications all my life, just the way I was raised. However, I do have a natural path that has me on a good vitamin and supplement program, which works great. Being aware of your physical health in dealing with trauma I feel has to go hand in hand, otherwise you open yourself to being overwhelmed.

Appreciate the engagement guys...