Struggling to accept my CSA really happened


I came into awareness of my CSA earlier this year. The first few months, I struggled mightily with doubt. Were things that bad? Did they really happen? Am I making a big deal out of nothing? Despite the murkiness of flash memory over decades, it's clear that a sexual thing happened to me when I was 6 or 7. My father, who should have protected me, was instead the antagonist. I've moved past doubt into another hazy space for me: Acceptance. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do now -- if anything. I wondered if anyone's gone through this and if they'd be willing to share their stories of working through acceptance. Thank you.
When I remembered my abuse in my mid 20's I marveled that it hadn't affected me. When I reached 50 I realized that the abuse was like a bomb that went off and shattered every part of who I am. And in my early 50's I am still experiencing the shockwaves. So yes, I can relate. The suppression of my memories and my denial were ways to protect myself from the horror of the abuse. I was only able to finally face what happened when I had a counselor I trusted and felt safe with to finally help me face it. Give yourself time and be patient with yourself.

Also the doubt is reasonable. My understanding is that during trauma the brain stops recording. So memories are sketchy and hard to reconnect with. Just because things are murky doesn't mean they didn't happen.

You asked what you are supposed to do. If you aren't in counseling that might be a good start.
My abuse started around the age of 4. To this day after years of therapy and struggle I still have days and even weeks where I doubt it. I find it hard to believe it could have been so bad, that it could have messed up my life, that I'm using it as an excuse for my own failures. Yea I have those thoughts a lot even after lots of therapy and years of pain. It sucks. You are not alone.


Thanks to you both. I do have a therapist and he's quite good. We met today, coincidentally after my post, and the talk was helpful. It's interesting to contemplate the point about the brain stopping recordings during trauma, BelovedSon. Without going into all the details, it's unmistakably clear that something very bad happened -- that it involved my dad, and that it had lifelong affects. (I'm now 59.) The flesh memories I do have are spotty from age 6, and stronger a year or two later. Still, the words randomnumber uses to express what he's feeling EXACTLY replicate what I think and feel.
I want to suggest a different adjective for your father... he was not "the antagonist" he was "the perpetrator." I know how hard it can be to state that so clearly about a parent who in reality traumatized us. It took me over 75 years to be able to call what my mother did to me as an infant sexual abuse. Yes, the memories always came in fragments, sometimes in dreams, sometime in reverie while reading or before therapy appointments and then during EMDR sessions over a period of years. At first I discounted their importance which is mind blowing given how fucked up my life had been. I remembered the fucked up part, not the sexual trauma... which meant all I had was shame and the belief I was a pervert.

We understand much more about trauma now, as your post notes. The Body Keeps the Score is a bible for trauma survivors, as is the work of Alan Schore, Steven Porges, Dan Siegel, Peter Levine and a raft of therapists doing trauma informed work focusing on the body. Deep respect for the work you're doing Jeremy. This is how healing happens and we have the privilege to share our experiences with one another. We really can support one another if only by being here and listening without judgment. I'm glad you found us. You might want to consider becoming a sustaining member. That is a commitment not only to yourself but to all the men who arrive here carrying confusion and shame and who need support.

I love your avatar photo... it really says it all very poignantly.


Thank you Visitor. The intensity of the work I was doing with my therapist the past few weeks resulted in my seeing your message only today. Your offer to consider using the word "perpetrator" in place of "antagonist" is very helpful. My father was, alas, both -- but your point is well made: He was a perpetrator in what he did to me (and I've learned also to my stepsister). He targeted me, he knew what he was doing, and he made my life a continuous hell until he died. The result of his actions was exactly what you wrote above: "I remembered the fucked up part, not the sexual trauma... which meant all I had was shame and the belief I was a pervert." I'm frequently amazed, Visitor, to see the words of other men here describe my exact feelings and life experience. Thank you. (I am very new here and am not sure what becoming a "sustaining member" means. Can you tell me more?)
and the belief I was a pervert."
I recall my pre-teen years and high school wondering why I had all these strange sexual thoughts in my head and was worried that I was becoming some deranged pervert. That caused a lot of stress, anxiety, and fear that I would become some evil monster I saw on the news.
T(I am very new here and am not sure what becoming a "sustaining member" means. Can you tell me more?)

Below is a link you can use to "Upgrade" your account with Male Survivor. You can select one of the options listed or contribute an amount you feel comfortable giving. I give an amount annually, which is renewed unless I wish to make a change. I'm honored to support this site. If you make a contribution you'll have a banner mounted beneath your name similar to the one beneath Beloved Son, randomnumber and my avatar. You would no longer simply be a "Registrant" you would become a "Member." Again, this is a club none of us wanted to join, but are profoundly relieved exists. I feel I need to be a Member.