"Normal" maybe be triggering

Adam1234

Registrant
This may have been posted here before so am sorry if it seems repetitive. I wish I was quote un quote normal and that I never had to go through what I did when I was a child. I mean did my brother really have to rape me. I sometimes think I really wish I knew why he did what he did but I know I will never understand why. I have not talked to him in almost 3 years and I probably will never again unless I find the courage to confront him about what he did and finally tell my parents what had happened but I have a feeling they would not believe me because they always discount what I say and never really listen or believe anything I say. I think what could have been if I wasn't molested by my brother if I had confidence and a good self esteem maybe I would stand up for myself and not run from any kind of confrontation or just shut down when I get in an argument with my wife (who is amazing and has been trying help through this troubling time) maybe I would have friends and not isolate myself from everyone except for my wife and kids. I just wish that I was "normal" and didn't have to go through that and carry the shame and guilt or the feeling of it was my fault . Sorry if this seems like I was rambling and doesn't make much sense.
 
The feelings you express ARE normal for a trauma survivor. Trauma leaves us with shame and confusion. You're right, that we'll likely never understand the why of any of it. Our challenge is to come to terms with it in a way that releases us from the shame so we can begin to have the sort of normal life those who didn't experience sexual trauma live. That kind of life has its challenges but without the shame. There probably isn't a need to isolate and confusion won't revolve around our sexuality or our self-worth.

What you experienced was horrible Adam and everything you say makes sense. Like the rest of us you're searching for a path through these painful memories. Talking about it here can help. Talking about it with a therapist well trained in working with childhood sexual trauma can help as well. Please remember that nothing that happened before, during or after the trauma(s) you experienced was your fault. You were and are innocent. All you've ever done is try to survive in a world that has been unsafe for you from the very beginning. Be exquisitely gentle with yourself and keep talking with men on this website. We're here to support you and we'll not judge what you have to share.
 

newground

Chat Moderator
Staff member
I was very much in that same boat bud... even as a boy all I wanted to be was a normal family , just a normal kid. and in my family no one was SEXUALLY abusive. that has to add a whole different dimension. what I came to realize after LOTS of therapy and friends here, normal doesn't really exist. at least not what we tend to put forth as normal. my therapist pointed out to me at one point that normal just means typical or predictable. one of my friends here told me early on " normal is just a setting on the dryer" I still wish I had the things I so desired. A dad who played ball or fished or even acknowledged my presence. I wanted to do things a normal family does and not have a mom who went from loving to beating in 0.6. as visitor says the longing is totally sensible and working through the trauma can help a lot. I often tell people " we have every right to be angry, we weren't protected and it never should have happened... but we deserve better in life and we have every right to heal and not give our lives to this. we have every right to do either on but we cant do both. I wish you all the healing there is man
 

DanielQ432

Registrant
The emotion that can follow anger is grief. Please remember it is ok to grieve for what was taken from you, snd for the things you never had as a result of what was done to you.
 
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Welcome. Sorry to hear about your abuse history. Count yourself lucky that you have an understanding wife and children. That is pretty normal and a great success considering the abuse. We all wish for a different life. I always feel my posts are rambling and confusing. My brother abused me as a small child and I can say I will never confront him. Would I like to talk to him about it, sure. but I have too much fear to take that step. Do not feel alone as we are all going thru similar issues as you. I guess take some comfort in knowing you have found a group of men who share your problems. Hopefully we can help.
 
The word "triggering" can trigger me, so I get it.
 

Dan99

Registrant
I'll just take a second to say I agree with the others. You're not rambling at all and make perfect sense. Or maybe its just that we all speak the same language here. That feeling is pretty common, unfortunately. I definitely feel that way. The feeling is more prominent on bad days and less so on good days. Best of luck in recovery.
 

MO-Survivor

Registrant
This may have been posted here before so am sorry if it seems repetitive. I wish I was quote un quote normal and that I never had to go through what I did when I was a child. I mean did my brother really have to rape me. I sometimes think I really wish I knew why he did what he did but I know I will never understand why. I have not talked to him in almost 3 years and I probably will never again unless I find the courage to confront him about what he did and finally tell my parents what had happened but I have a feeling they would not believe me because they always discount what I say and never really listen or believe anything I say. I think what could have been if I wasn't molested by my brother if I had confidence and a good self esteem maybe I would stand up for myself and not run from any kind of confrontation or just shut down when I get in an argument with my wife (who is amazing and has been trying help through this troubling time) maybe I would have friends and not isolate myself from everyone except for my wife and kids. I just wish that I was "normal" and didn't have to go through that and carry the shame and guilt or the feeling of it was my fault . Sorry if this seems like I was rambling and doesn't make much sense.
Hey Adam. Great responses from everyone here. And yes:
  • Growing up, we all wished we were from a "normal" family and were "normal" kids. Instead we felt isolated, alone, and different from everyone else. And we were - we had to keep secrets of things that were "dirty." I remember on vacations watching other families, even, and wishing I could be in their family. They looked so healthy and "normal" - the way I wished my family was. Of course, no family is perfect and who is to say the families I observed didn't have similar issues? After all, other people looked at my family as ideal... because they didn't know (or want to know)
  • The majority of the population consists of personality types that are conflict-avoidant. So even without the CSA in your life, you very well would still be someone who wants to avoid conflicts. I was, for sure. Partly, it's because most parents don't know how to deal with conflict. My mom was a master of not addressing conflict. Instead she would become emotional - usually in tears - leave and come back in a better mood. Most of the time we kids just waited and tried to read the signs - to figure out when mom was back in a good mood and over whatever was upsetting. My dad would want to talk through things, but... it was hard for me since those conversations were pretty intimate, and intimacy - in my mind - could lead to sex at any time (even though those conflict processing conversations never did)
  • Isolation and shutting people out (or not letting them in, in the first place) is very normal for us. We fear intimacy. We fear relationships past news, weather, and sports. It's a defense we developed as kids to survive
All that to say, your behaviors and even your questioning "what if?" are perfectly normal. We share many / all of them. I have talked to others and we believe that CSA changed our personalities and how we acted. My mom used to talk about being afraid to send me to preschool. I was big for my age - usually the tallest or second tallest all the way into Jr. High - and my mom said I was such a "rambunctious" toddler that she thought I would end up hurting the other kids. Somewhere along the way, that changed. I became a tentative, overly cautious, non-confrontational, non-risk taking kid who preferred to be a wall flower when I was with other kids. Risky behaviors - swinging on a rope swing out over the creek, going to a baseball game & having pizza with my uncle (who I did not know well) and his family - were things I avoided whenever I could. That caused me to typically get pressured by other kids and further isolated me as being different and alone. So yeah - I think we would all be different people if our abuser had never abused us. But, we are who we now are, and I want to be the best me I can be at this point; for myself, for my family, for you guys, etc.

Thanks for sharing your feelings Adam!
 

Skier32

Registrant
This thread was really helpful to me. Thank you Adam for sharing. My brother abused me as well (7 years older). I need to confront him but have not. He is still peripherally in my life which is hard for me. Although we are not close, we still communicate like things are "normal". Why am I so powerless? I'm in my 60s for goodness sakes! Sometimes it feels like I'm still being abused. As far as a normal childhood, I cringe when people discuss my early family life. I get disgusted when looking at old pictures of me as a child, even happy ones because I know the truth.
 
This thread was really helpful to me. Thank you Adam for sharing. My brother abused me as well (7 years older). I need to confront him but have not. He is still peripherally in my life which is hard for me. Although we are not close, we still communicate like things are "normal". Why am I so powerless? I'm in my 60s for goodness sakes! Sometimes it feels like I'm still being abused. As far as a normal childhood, I cringe when people discuss my early family life. I get disgusted when looking at old pictures of me as a child, even happy ones because I know the truth.

Please remember that nothing you did before, during or after the traumatic experiences with your brother was your fault. I hope the disgust you feel looking at old photos is not directed at YOU, the little boy who was so hurt. He deserves compassion and care... as do you. The trauma is over but you're still carrying its residue... shame, confusing, anger, fear, grief. This is what all of us are doing here... releasing the pain of the past so we can have today. Please be gentle with yourself.
 

Skier32

Registrant
Thanks Visitor. Unfortunately, when I look a old photos of me as a child there is some disgust about me and anger towards my parents and brother. When i see other innocent and carefree children i mourn and am saddened by the loss of my innocent childhood.
 
That is the reason I have copies of the photo on the left throughout my home... reminders that this little boy who wanted nothing more than to play had been so traumatized that life became a minefield. I'm just finding my way out... You deserve nothing but kindness my friend.
 
I think that part of the bizarreness of having dreamt for "normal" was the fact that I had no idea what that was; so it's like yearning for something completely unknown, that I couldn't even put an image to. So perhaps we idealize that "normal" beyond what it would have been? Not sure if I'm making sense, but I do understand that want and desire, and maybe now part of my dissatisfaction with my life is that my life today is what society would consider "normal" and I'm still not happy; so it's like losing that illusion all over again. I hope that you are able to find something that lives up to that illusion, at least to some degree.
 
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