My Story part 1

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Tom1967

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I've been in therapy for a couple months now. I won't get in to what prompted me to seek out help right now but I was fortunate to find an amazing therapist who has guided me through these difficult conversations and memories thus far. I can't begin to thank him enough for his patience. I'm an absolute wreck. I some point in our discussions I shared with him that I have been reading stories at this site for a few weeks and found some of them to be all too familiar to my own. I'm waiting on a start date for a Trauma Recovery group in my area. My therapist suggested sharing my story might be a good jumping off point to help prepare myself for what he calls prolonged exposure therapy in that recovery group. The description he gives for that type of therapy sounds horrific...but I've read some stories here posted by men who survived it so I'm trying to believe that I can at least go to the first appointment. So.....here it is, I'll call it My Story Part 1. I grew up in an abusive household, my father was an alcoholic and my mother was emotionally absent and working all the time. We lived on a large dairy farm in an extended household with my grandparents, great uncles and aunts and occasionally a cousin or uncle or two here and there for short periods of time. My father fell far from that tree, he was just a loser, he normally wasn't around but when he was he was drunk and abusive towards me. Oddly enough he was never abusive towards my only sibling, my younger brother. My grandfather did an excellent job of raising me and I always felt like he was the father figure that my real father wasn't. I had multiple emergency room trips before I entered kindergarten... a broken arm a broken nose and at least 3 trips that I can vaguely remember to treat my left eardrum that had been ruptured due to drunken slaps to the side of my head when my father was around, he was right handed so the left side of my body typically took the blows. I've been wearing hearing aids as a result for over 20 years now. I never needed therapy to deal with him because I never loved him and I never expected any love from him. I hated him in my earliest memories. During one of the periods when he was kicked out and not living with us my cousin came to live with us, i later learned he was also in an abusive household. My grandfather seemed to take in anyone in need. We ended up sharing a room. Until 5 or 6 months ago I had nothing but fond memories of him, he was my big brother and sort of a father figure as well. I loved him, and....although he passed away 14 years ago..I still love him. He was 8 years older than me and always seemed to watch out for me. To this day even while I write this it's hard to understand how I completely repressed the fact that my earliest memories of him also involved sex, although I didn't understand it was sex at the time. He moved in with us when I was 5 or 6. As early as I can recall sexual contact was simply a normal part of our relationship, and it continued until he moved away 8 years later when I was about 14. I know these memories need to be addressed but I'm afraid to dive too deeply in for fear of what it's going to reveal. Part of me doesn't want to uncover all of that darkness, I remember loving him like a brother and I'm afraid that will all change. When I imagine diving in I feel like I'm alone, in the dark, floating in the middle of an ocean, and everything.....literally everything below the surface is terrifying and wants to devour me, so I'm treading water, afraid to look below that surface. He did everything for me, he took me to football games he took me to baseball games and movies he let me tag along with him and his girlfriend, he took me hunting and fishing, he brought me with when he was hanging out with his friends. I'm sure because of my home environment I was probably a bit awkward but it didn't matter to him, I was his little brother and he made everybody treat me well. He would always share how he intended to bring me with, after they graduated, when he and his girlfriend planned to move out west. He promised me we would have a happy normal family, and they would take care of me without the physical violence and the alcohol abuse. He told me nobody would ever treat me poorly again. I believed every word. We shared a bedroom and I can recall always being comfortable sleeping with him. The attention he gave me, I'm so embarrassed to write this, but until recently all I remembered was him messing up my hair, patting me on the back putting me on his shoulders, wrestling with me, chasing me, playing football....all the normal things family members would do, and it felt SO GOOD to feel normal. That physical attention....I simply craved it, I invited it, and don't remember ever wanting him to stop paying attention to me. It felt so good to have contact with a person that wasn't hitting or slapping me. It felt so good to be touched in a loving way. If felt so good to be told, "I love ya, buddy." I can hear his voice like it was only an hour ago. I blocked out all the other contact. I blocked out all the things we did that no little boy should even have knowledge of much less be experiencing first hand. I can't begin to recall how many times this happened, I fear it was many hundreds and that makes me feel like dying. So I guess that's why I crammed it into a box and locked it shut and buried it somewhere deep down inside me. To this day I feel as though he saved me from my dad, and that abuse. Everything, and I really mean everything...day to day...was so much better while he lived with us. I've been married now for 26 years to a wonderful woman, we have 5 amazing kids, I retired from a successful career, I have great friends, I've never struggled with substance abuse. I've always attributed much if my ability to live a "normal" life to his influence and protection and I'm afraid trying to resolve these new revelations of CSA will change everything.
 
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