The Keys To My Healing

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While we suffered different variations of sexual abuse, many of us end up suffering so much of the same end results such as shame, guilt, control & masculinity issues. After twenty three years of dealing and healing I thought I’d put down my own keys to what helped me open the locks on the door to my own freedom. If what worked for me fits your situation then maybe you can use these keys to unlock one or some of the locks to your own freedom. I can’t take credit for making any of these keys myself, I found them scattered about here on Male Survivor over the years through the generosity of the ones who came before me who shared their own healing breakthroughs, what I call, keys.

The much needed walls that our hurt child selves built for protection over time become our prisons where we are locked in behind them with all our hurts, fears and faulty coping. All these things then get cemented into the layers of our subconscious. Even once the walls first come crumbling down, which is a big relief in itself, there is still much digging to do to get down to all the hidden and unknown triggers and drives that cause so much angst in our lives. It’s not easy, fun nor quick, it takes some time but well worth the investment.

Not Alone Realization
I first stumbled onto healing when I came across a male survivor's personal web page back in January 1999. I had been trolling for porn and erotic stories and was looking to get off on abusive stories. I began reading and as I got deeper into his story alarm bells were going off in my head, “he’s telling my story!”, “he feels all the hurt and fear that I do”... With that, it was as if scales fell from my eyes and I had to admit to myself that I was sexually abused. I had never forgotten any of the ongoing abuse but my young mind carefully shelved it away as something weird that happened, that it didn’t mean anything, that it didn’t affect or change me. It was a perfect denial that held for two decades, until that one day. I couldn’t believe that another guy out there suffered the same thing, that I wasn’t alone in this. I had felt like such a weird freak and here online I would find even more guys who went through the same hell that I did, that they were actually putting it all out there on the internet. I, at eight years old, had reasoned to myself that I would have to take all this shameful abuse to the grave. It was such a huge weight lifted off my shoulders knowing that I wasn’t alone nor a freak.

Shame, Fault & Guilt
I had suffered with intense shame since that first time at eight. The shame was so bad that I hid myself from the world, I lived my life hiding in plain sight. Even as an adult man I refused to wear any shirt with any writing or pictures on it because I didn’t want people looking at me. I hated any attention, good, bad or indifferent. I felt that if anyone looked at me long enough that they’d see the shame on me, it was that bad. My abuse was from eight to twelve, at eleven I hit puberty and was highly sexualized and began going back looking for the abuse, and started to act out with other boys shortly after, then later men. While the initial abuse was hard enough to deal with, the fact that I got turned on by it all and then went back on my own volition and then went on to involve other boys and then men turned my stomach. I had loathed myself over this. I had so much guilt over my own acts and blamed myself for all of it, even the poor eight year old boy that I was felt my adult wrath.

Newly on the healing journey I heard many times how, “it wasn’t your fault”. Well, maybe the abuse wasn’t so much my fault, but what I did on my own free will was and I held onto that, deep inside I was still prosecuting that eleven year old boy who acted out all the hurt and confusion in his mind. He became my very own whipping boy and I hated what he did to me, what he turned me into…

It wasn’t till I met my eleven year old nephew for the first time did it hit me, that he was so innocent & naive. He was everything that I should have been! That I should’ve been allowed to be… Only then did I see the eleven year old boy for what he was, a hurting victim who was lashing out in the only way he learned how, through secretive dirty sex. This was a huge thing for me to finally comprehend. This was a key to one of the bigger locks.

Power & Control
I came to learn early on in healing about the stolen power & control of mine as a boy from the abuse that I was suffering from. I had been acting out with other males but with me in control with all the power… I was reenacting the abuse done to me with others but now with me as the alpha, me using the beta guys to affirm me in an attempt to soothe my very broken masculinity. While it was always consensual, in my mind it was about me using them for my own selfish ends. Understanding this took off a lot of the pressure & drive to act on it.

Sexuality
Feeling like me being on the outside looking in I was very envious & jealous of the other boys around me, especially after the abuse as they mirrored back everything that I wasn’t. Later during puberty and with the addition of the other issues due to the abuse, I sexualized them. I never considered myself gay, it sounds crazy to some that with all my acting out with other males, all my sick abusive fantasy involving other males, but I never felt gay nor wanted to be… My dream since early on in life was to be married one day with a wife and family of my own, the kind of family I never had as a kid and that I craved. The hyper sex drive begining at eleven was intense, I’m surprised that I didn’t go crazy or get in real trouble due to it. I would get triggered then all rational thought would go out the window and I’d be consumed with the need to act out, then the second it was over I would feel like I got punched in the stomach by the disgust, shame and guilt over what I had just done.

What I came to realize was that in all the sex and fantasy involving other males it never ever had anything to do with love, honoring or cherishing them. It was always abusive in nature, about me needing to get over on them, to use them like I was used to sooth my broken masculinity. I never wanted to date, marry a man or wear a dress. This was the key to understanding my sexuality, that I’m not gay or even bi. Understanding this took a lot of the steam out of that drive/trigger to act out.

Masculinity & Measuring
My early broken masculinity set me up with an intense inferiority complex around other males from five years old and on. I used to judge or measure myself against other boys, other perceived perfect boys, all the while being sure to account for every flaw, shame and failure of mine… This would always leave me hating myself and my situation. Later once puberty hit, these incessant measurings would often trigger the need to act out, to conquer another male, to get my “fix” to make the bad feelings go away. But they never went away, the second it was over that same old disgust, shame and guilt would run over me. Over and over again I’d do it this way expecting something different in the end, but ending up with the same miserable results.

In healing I came to understand that I had to give myself a lot of credit for surviving the abuse and all its aftermath. So many guys don’t, sadly they either end up dead, in jail or in the gutter.
I had to see how unfair I was to myself in how I measured my very broken self against others. I had assumed that we had an equal start in life when we didn’t, I started from way, way behind the others in life. The other boys and men weren’t “perfect” either, a lot of them had their own hidden hurts, problems or issues too. I spent many years needlessly beating myself up over this incessant faulty childhood coping mechanism. I came to look around at all the goodness in my life, count my many, many blessings, see all the accomplishments that I made in spite of all I’ve been through. I realized that many of what I believed to be perfect boys or men wouldn’t have survived all that I went through. Taking all these things into account I finally saw myself as a bona fide Man. This stopped the incessant faulty measuring, finally. This was a key to one of the large locks.


Father & Family Issues
Your dad is the one who is supposed to bring a young son into the fold of masculinity, of belonging and being affirmed. Through dad’s healthy attention, affection & affirmation of his young son he builds a solid foundation to their budding masculinity & self confidence. When the dad is not there, is too busy to be involved *enough*, or seemingly rejects the son, then the son suffers and is at risk of not becoming all that they can and should be or worse. Sons who don’t get their father needs filled often feel like they are on the outside looking in at masculinity, that they don’t belong and feel inferior as a boy. These boys suffer from being needy and crave the attention & love that their dad was supposed to give them.This too often leaves boys vulnerable to a predator who will use that need against a naive boy to do what they want to him.
These father issues certainly played a role in my own young life, abuse & acting out. My own alpha father wasn’t too involved, he was too wrapped up in his own issues and living for himself the rest of the time. If he was involved like he should’ve been we wouldn’t have ended up staying over at the molesters home all the time. If I wasn’t needy of attention & affirmation I wouldn’t have easily fallen for the molester’s grooming. If I wasn’t suffering from a broken masculinity I wouldn’t have sexualized other males, I wouldn’t have had that blind drive to conquer other males, seeking my affirmation by being more manly & powerful than them.
My broken family due to my mother dying when I was five, then the endless parade of mothers coming and going, the alcoholism & other dysfunctions all wreaked havoc on me/us. All this broken family chaos was my faulty foundation in life, then add to that the father issues, and for the cherry on top- the sexual abuse… It certainly made it impossible to confide in anyone to tell.

Reactions & Attractions
I suffered with some disturbing things, one was having automatic and uncontrollable responses to innocuous touch. Sometimes depending where (place) or where on my body either I’d shut down where I would lose any smile, stop talking and the like, or it could trigger an automatic and unwanted reaction down below.
Sometimes, when my oldest child started to walk, grabbing onto things to steady himself, he’d grab my thigh out of the blue and that would trigger a reaction below. This really freaked me out when this happened a few times. I then reasoned with myself that this is a “normal” response to my abnormal childhood, that I am safe and okay now. With that understanding these things faded pretty quick.
*Trigger warning*
Noticing and sizing up pubescent boys (12+), the same age boys I started to involve when I began acting out. Having been hyper sexualized and having had prior carnal knowledge of boys at those ages these memories didn’t just go away. Disturbingly they were on my radar when in sight, I didn’t go looking for them. I didn’t act on it but I did notice and size them up. In fantasy I’d use ones I saw or my own old memories to get off. I never touched a minor, nor ever came close. I hated the attraction and noticing but it was there nonetheless, this added ever more shame and guilt. It was fallout from my twisted earlier life as an acting out adolescent. I would even be jealous of their unspoiled budding masculinity and or be turned on by it.
Dealing with all my masculinity issues and finding my own Man card, and again understanding that these are “normal” responses to my abnormal childhood, and that I am safe and okay now. With all that understood these noticings and attractions faded too.

I can see how some guys who were abused do go on to abuse, the way my young mind set up my faulty coping mechanisms, I'm afraid to think of what might’ve or could’ve happened if I had access to kids back when I was still so locked up in the abuse cycle. I’m NOT excusing any adult of touching a child, but I understand how and why they did/do. This is one of those, “there by the grace of God go I” things… Again, a key to a large lock.
*End Trigger*


What chance did this poor kid have to have any kind of normal childhood or life?
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(at 8, just before the sexual abuse)

Thankfully through the support of an earlier male sexual abuse website (M.A.S.S.F.), then later MaleSurvivor, some group therapy, my supportive wife and supportive family & friends, my faith I was able to heal from all this twisted chaos to where I’m in control of my life, am comfortable in my own skin, and happy with who I am. I am satisfied with that…

I am nobody special, if I can get here to this point in healing then I would bet anyone else can. When things are dark and gloomy keep pushing through because you will get to the other side.
 
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