What the child molesters think

Jim Nobody

Registrant
So, I've been hanging out in some nasty places lately.

I always wondered how could someone rape a little boy. (I was raped from 6 to 13, FWIW.) One thing I never understood was how anyone could do that to a child. So, I went looking for answers. I found chatrooms where pedophiles hang out. Once I figured out their code, I thought it would be easy enough engage a few and figure it out.

If any of you are curious, "open minded" is the key phrase to spot. If someone puts in a sex ad or asks in chat if you're open minded, that means they like sex with children and want to know it you do, too.

I thought it would be simple to engage a few of these guys in roleplaying. I got stories that should really get them hot and bothered.

I was shocked. None of them wanted to hear the real stories.

The first few times I thought it was just a mistake. But time and again they stopped me from telling a real story. Instead they wanted a romantic story about a child who's flattered and attracted by an old man's desire for them.

I can't say I understand them. Probably good that I don't. But I do think I've learned something. The message these people need to hear is just no. No young person wants an old man fucking them. Hard to believe that message needs repeating, but I think it does.

There's a whole population of people who don't understand that. Scary.

I think that they put their own urges above what the damage it would do to their victum would do. The idea of getting into their minds is fasonating because psychology is a primary interest of mine. But unless you know how to say super safe online, stay the fuck away from those places at all cost. Unless you know what a VPN, Tor, and Tails are and always use them when searching for pedos, you have zero buisness anywhere near those sites.
 

Dan99

Registrant
Thanks for the feedback guys. I do stay safe online. Not sure why I shared this. I guess because other than telling my therapist, I had no one to talk to about it.

This was just something I needed to figure out. Haven't bothered with it since. I guess on some level I feel better thinking that pedophiles don't really understand what they're doing. Maybe they're just staying in denial so they can keep indulging themselves. But at least the ones i came in contact with don't actually get off on the real misery of the situation. Maybe that's something.
 

kmac

Registrant
Myself, ...not that it lessens the wrong doing, but I wonder what they went through in their life to make them do what they do.
 

CarbonTiger

Registrant
I quite simply don't give a fuck... what they think.

They... should wonder what I think.

They should wonder what I feel. How I feel. When I feel and most importantly, WHY I FEEL. Because, it was clear that was not done before their immoral action took place.

...so, somebody come grab the microphone before I break it in half instead of "dropping it on the ground."

:mad:

Edit: these words are not directed at anyone on this site. Obviously they are directed at my abuser. Just to clarify.
 

Alex T

Registrant
They... should wonder what I think.

They should wonder what I feel. How I feel. When I feel and most importantly, WHY I FEEL. Because, it was clear that was not done before their immoral action took place.
So. Very. True.

I work hard to keep my anger in check so I can function in a world that doesn't want to acknowledge my pain. But at the core of my being, I will always be pissed about the betrayal by my perp. And by a world that wants me to just shut the fuck up.
 
As I've noted this thread rolling along I can't help but think that the most important thing about this question is that we release it and move on with our own healing. Knowing the motivations, thoughts, feelings of perpetrators really does nothing to help us. In reality, the perpetrators have been in residence in our minds and bodies ever since the trauma happened and it hasn't been a happy situation for us. We're told over and over again that the shame we carry really belongs to the perpetrator. Why would we give them more of our attention than that? Releasing ourselves from shame is job one.

It really is time to focus on both self-compassion and self-care. The past is simply the past. Yes, we need to arrive at a story about it all that releases us from shame, but that is all we really need from the past.
 

TJ jeff

Moderator
Staff member
Knowing the motivations, thoughts, feelings of perpetrators really does nothing to help us - I have to disagree - at least on my own personal histories behalf - it is indeed VERY important to me (and yes, I understand that it might be unimportant to some others and their own unique healing journey) - for me... knowing that my mother was very young and immature and didn't really want me - knowing it was my dad who wanted 2 kids - knowing the money problems they had - knowing her anger issues - knowing the drinking issues - it all led me to understand the "why" that she felt she could abuse me the ways she did - knowing the "why" has helped me to move past it and be able to look back and simply say "it was the way it was because of those other things"

Totally not trying to argue with you Visitor - just trying to explain why for some of us it is important to know those things from the past to be able to move past them - knowing the "why" has helped to lessen some of the shame for me

I think the important thing is to not let searching for answers from the past become something that consumes you

Self-compassion and self-care are indeed very important in the here and now
 

C. E. (Chase Eric)

Administrator
Staff member
I can't help but think that the most important thing about this question is that we release it and move on with our own healing. Knowing the motivations, thoughts, feelings of perpetrators really does nothing to help us. In reality, the perpetrators have been in residence in our minds and bodies ever since the trauma happened and it hasn't been a happy situation for us. We're told over and over again that the shame we carry really belongs to the perpetrator. Why would we give them more of our attention than that? Releasing ourselves from shame is job one.
One thing I've learned is that our healing journeys are so very different sometimes. So what works for one survivor may not work for another. And what (I assume) works well for @Visitor is the opposite of what I have found truly helped me in my own journey. You speak some truth for me in this quote - the shame does belong to the perpetrator. But I believe that fixing a thing is impossible with understanding it first. It is like the current viral epidemic. Understanding the virus down to such fine detail that the molecular moieties of the protein spikes can be mapped is essential in knowing how to address it, counter it and eventually defeat it. In fact, that's true with anything medical. If you think you have cancer, I suppose you could ignore it, even engage in primal scream therapy about it. But you'll never truly address how intrinsic it is and how to strategize a way to resolve it unless you dare to look at it with such deep understanding that it becomes almost like a friend. I think of the famous line from the Godfather - "Keep you friends close, but your enemies closer."

My own journey has pretty much been about looking at it. For so long I did everything I could not to look at it. When I finally did, I actually dispelled a lot of lies I told myself (lies filled in the questions I could not answer). I engaged in a series of conversations with my molester, who was in institutionally incarcerated when I caught up to him. To use Visitor's criteria (Knowing the motivations, thoughts, feelings of perpetrators...), this is just a little of what I discovered:

CriteriaMy "truth" before I spoke with himThe actual truth I realized after we spokeWhat that means - what I was able to take away
Motivations
He was just a horny pedophile He was thirsting for love that he wasn't getting at homeHe had a tidal wave of a problem - no wonder I was so powerless
Thoughts
He didn't care that he was badHe was in fact deeply troubled with no idea how to stopI was able to find a path to forgive him - which was a gift to myself
Feelings
He had none - he was a sociopathHe loved me as much as I loved him - but very differentlyNow my heart - not just my brain - found a truth it could understand

I suspect that most survivors who come here to the MaleSurvivor discussion boards do so because they are ready to look at it. Isn't this a wrong place to be if you weren't?

Just a quick word on the opening post. I think there is a difference between "roleplaying" and conversation. I spent so much effort as a young teenage boy trying to extricate myself from his world. When I had my conversations with him, the boundaries were clear. I did not fear losing myself in his world again. I imagine had I tried to do that, I would have been abusing myself all over again by doing precisely what he did to me as a child - blur the appropriate boundaries between us. My role was clear. I was a grown survivor. That's precisely who I was when I spoke with him. And he was a grown perpetrator. We understood each other clearly. It was the honest footing of the relationship I redefined between us that allowed such an illuminating and healing exchange.
 
Understand TJ and Eric... I'm quite a bit older than either of you and I have spent DECADES trying to understand what happened. That is what my line "we need to arrive at a story about it all that releases us from shame, but that is all we really need from the past" is all about. But knowing that my mother may have been sexually abused as a teen and may have been depressed at the end of a very difficult pregnancy when she was 37 years old and that she was likely in despair following the bombing of Pearl Harbor ten weeks after I was born and three weeks before her first son turned 16 knowing her cousin after whom I was named died in the First World War... told me absolutely nothing about the terror I experienced because my mother was incapable of caring for me in the ways I needed to feel secure in myself or safe in the world. But that is precisely what I did... understood her problems, her needs and completely ignored how damaged I'd been. I didn't remember any of it... either what she did to me in the crib or what the neighbors did to me over the four years I was introduced to their world of pedophilia from age three to seven when I was raped. As far as that three generation family of pedophiles is concerned I have no need to understand what they were thinking or feeling. I know what they did to me prepared me for a lifetime of shame and sexual acting out that was eternally confusing to me.

Of course you're right Eric. We've each experienced our own sexual trauma. And we're all at different stages in our healing journey. I understand there is great shame and confusion we carry... I call it the residue of trauma... shame, terror, rage and grief. And yes, we need to unpack that to the point where we no longer see ourselves at fault... release the shame, find self-compassion. If needing to understand why the perpetrator did what he did, felt what he felt, thought what he thought is required to have compassion for yourself... so be it. But none of that helped me find compassion for myself, it only kept me locked in the horror they created and lost in shame I needed to release.
 
@C. E. (Chase Eric) - There is so much in your response that is good, I can't even find the words right now. This is what I was hoping for in meeting my perpetrator before he died last December, but was denied access to him. I suppose what comes forward to me from your post is how do I get to that understanding, find that peace, without that face to face? I almost feel like I've just been picked up and set down on a new set of railroad tracks, and that's a good thing. - Thank you.
 

C. E. (Chase Eric)

Administrator
Staff member
@Visitor - I truly meant what I said that your journey may work for you. That means that just because it does not work for me, I cannot by extension expect the same is true for you. I cannot imagine the horror and shame of what you have been through. I do not think it at all out of the question that my journey could be very different had I been through similar.

@Gistin - you can still search for truths even when he is gone. My journey was inspired by a one-man play by Michael Mack called Conversations with my Molester: A Journey of Faith. Like you, Mack's own journey also ended before it could even start with the death of his perpetrator. And yet it still had the elements that saw him grow along that journey - the discoveries of little truths along the way, the discovery of himself and who he was just in the pursuit of the truth. I never thought I would pursue such a conversation myself. But my father and one other neighborhood dad had a meeting with my molester when he was caught abusing other kids (they didn't know about me) - and I spent years after that wondering what was said in that room. When my dad died, it was too late to ask him about it - if my abuser shared with my father what he did to me. When I was finally ready to ask about it with the other dad, he had Alzheimer's and I could not talk with him about it, either. The only person left from that meeting was my molester. So my conversation was originally supposed to be with my dad. And it changed. It was only going to be a simple question to my molester: Did my dad know what you did to me? But it became hours of conversations over several months. I never expected that. Your conversation was supposed to be with your perpetrator. But, perhaps like mine and like Michael Mack's - it simply means you are supposed to travel another road. Don't expect anything will go as you imagined - just travel. The world will unfold on your journey as it should.
 
ThoughtsHe didn't care that he was badHe was in fact deeply troubled with no idea how to stopI was able to find a path to forgive him - which was a gift to myself
This.
It's causing me so much trouble in therapy. It's very much like self-forgiveness. And that's something I have so many problems wrapping my head around. I thought self-forgiveness? Why would I have to forgive myself? I wasn't the one who did something wrong.
And I still feel that way, and I am also not ready to forgive. But at least now I understand the concept.
 
This is all so challenging because shame that invariably arises out of trauma would make it seem we are obliged to ask forgiveness of ourselves. Is that because we engaged in the dance that invariably comes with sexual engagement? Men so often look back at the trauma saying that because they experienced pleasure that motivated them to go back for more, that THEY are complicit. To my mind that is a mind fuck. None of us would have been in those situations were it not for one of two things. The first may be our own vulnerability that likely comes from estrangement in our family. The second is we had the misfortune to encounter someone for whom sexual engagement with a vulnerable child served THEIR need for release of whatever demons inhabited them. Neither of those circumstances represents an indictment of the child who found himself in that situation. That boy was eternally innocent... before, during and after the traumatic events. Ultimately, the process of unpacking these memories will hinge on this question... whether we were culpable and therefore need absolution, or whether we were innocents deserving of compassion. I don't believe you have anything Darren for which you must seek absolution and you certainly don't need to forgive the perpetrators who used you for their sexual gratification. It is not self-forgiveness my friend it is self-compassion... and nothing else.
 

C. E. (Chase Eric)

Administrator
Staff member
This.
It's causing me so much trouble in therapy. It's very much like self-forgiveness. And that's something I have so many problems wrapping my head around. I thought self-forgiveness? Why would I have to forgive myself? I wasn't the one who did something wrong.
And I still feel that way, and I am also not ready to forgive. But at least now I understand the concept.
Wow - I think this is so important to respond to, because I was in such a similar situation. And like @Visitor asked, could part of it be because we engaged willingly in the sexual exchange imposed upon us? When I look back at my own abuse, I see that it crippled me in two ways (probably more - but two big "categories" if you will) - my inability to trust myself, and the splitting of myself.

Trust. It is one thing not to trust others. In fact - that is an expected result of experiencing betrayal. But when we respond, that self-trust gets shattered. In my own case...
I responded to him despite myself, despite my protests and despite knowing what he was doing to me was flat-out wrong. I saw my sexual response to him as not only a consent (even though I was only 13) but as rewarding his behavior by feeding into it as he wanted me to.
So that was the trust piece I struggled with - that I knew it was wrong and yet my soul and body betrayed me. How do you ever trust yourself again after such a nascent, intense experience? Do you ever walk away from that sh*t and really "recover"? Sometimes I think lost trust is as hard to grow back as losing a leg after it was bitten off by a shark. I personally don't believe in recovery. What's lost is lost. If that was not true, we wouldn't need this place. You don't recover anything. But you can heal.

Splitting. It's not like I was punched in the solar plexus and doubled over in pain for five minutes. Or hit on the head with a brick and had to get my scalp stitched. It is not even about the intensity of the pain or hurt I endured (and I did). Because in all those situations, there is never any question about the integrity of my response when someone crossed my physical boundaries with a fist or a brick or a knife or a bullet. Pain. Anger. Fear. The desire to get away. Everything is appropriate, even if not pleasant. Yet sexual abuse is so very different - that the hurt goes deeper than the flesh - so deep that it alters the integrity of response. In some cases the victim orgasms despite everything in them trying not to; that loss of the most intrinsic and intimate autonomy and determination of self is surrendered. For me, that set up the split between the probity of my young brain which understood ethics, integrity and decency - and my fervid heart, that seemed to go where it would go despite what I knew. We define good men in this world as those who are fully aligned - heart and mind - along the lines of rectitude and integrity. Bad men, on the other hand, are those that know right from wrong - and yet do wrong anyways. Suddenly, the CSA victim is left trying to calibrate his own moral compass, to bring together his heart and his mind ... and just be a decent person. But when you are split down the middle as so many of us survivors I believe are, there is no easy way to stitch us together. It's how so many of us destroy ourselves - acting out, sabotaging ourselves in our relationships, in our professions, physically hurting ourselves with addictions or recklessness or suicide attempts. To me, that's all about the split.

This is why self-forgiveness was so important to me. It's not about the sex, or about thinking I consented (when I know that a 13 year old could not consent to a 16 year old). It's not about failing to control my heart - for giving in to a darkness and evil I should never have participated in. That is not what self-forgiveness is. Self forgiveness is understanding how cruel I have been to myself all these years. To forgive that child I once was and truly - deeply - tell him it was NOT YOUR FAULT. To forgive me - the adult - for falling so short on my path to being the decent man I've always expected myself to be. For not being the man I envisioned I would be when I was 13.

Do we forgive our abusers? There is such controversy about that on these boards. I have spoken with my abuser and have decided where I fall on that decision. I respect anyone who decides either way. Because that decision is itself an autonomy. It is a healing moment. It is a self-determination by the survivor who once had not such power as a child. If you don't forgive, I applaud you as much as if you do. We are all so very different. But here is the thing - at least for me. And I did not realize this until I was face-to-face with him and had those conversations. I simply did not have the responsibility to forgive or pardon my abuser. It was enough to forgive myself. My forgiving him might be a nice gesture, but doing so would not absolve him. His absolution would come from standing quietly in front of the mirror. Taking a long look at himself - into his own eyes. And forgiving the man who is looking back at him. I cannot imagine that could be easy. I wonder if he was ever truly able to do that before he died. But that's forgiveness.
 
Again: This.
This is why self-forgiveness was so important to me. It's not about the sex, or about thinking I consented (when I know that a 13 year old could not consent to a 16 year old). It's not about failing to control my heart - for giving in to a darkness and evil I should never have participated in. That is not what self-forgiveness is. Self forgiveness is understanding how cruel I have been to myself all these years. To forgive that child I once was and truly - deeply - tell him it was NOT YOUR FAULT. To forgive me - the adult - for falling so short on my path to being the decent man I've always expected myself to be. For not being the man I envisioned I would be when I was 13.
@C. E. (Chase Eric) I have understood it to be exactly this. But the shame and guilt have hidden their true meaning from me until this thread, WHich is a surprise. For me it's not the willingly participating but most definitely the shame about the bodily response I had, and the way all these people told me how much I liked it. I still hear that every time I have to testify in court.

@Visitor
For me the word self-compassion is the most powerful and strong. But it lacks the forgiveness I am talking about in therapy. It's the word forgiveness that is lacking. And I do agree with you, it should be imprinted in me every time that it was not my fault, but I am not there yet.

I find it a very difficult subject. I know we're somewhat digressing from the OP, but I just need to say it. I am not wondering what my abusers are/were thinking because I know. Does that make it easier or more difficult to forgive so I can move on? I'm not even talking about recovering. No, plain and simple forgiveness to myself, and to them through my own redemptiuon.
 
This is such a profound conversation. Thank you Eric and Darren for this exchange.

@C.E. Deep respect for sharing on this thread the fullness of your process. I found myself smiling. Perhaps you recall a song about whether it is pronounced POTAYTO or POTAHTO...

Self forgiveness is understanding how cruel I have been to myself all these years. To forgive that child I once was and truly - deeply - tell him it was NOT YOUR FAULT. To forgive me - the adult - for falling so short on my path to being the decent man I've always expected myself to be. For not being the man I envisioned I would be when I was 13.
This is exactly how I would characterize self-compassion. How could we ever overlook the suffering we created for ourselves and for everyone in our lives? I never could... and that was why I was lost in shame for decades. I needed to understand how my mother's treatment affected my capacity to care for myself in the face of life's challenges... that required a deep dive into attachment theory. Understanding how trauma affects the brain and thereby our development helped me understand how the terror at home made me the perfect target for neighbors who were pedophiles and why I would respond to the attention they gave me and NOT tell anyone at home what was happening. Coming to self-forgiveness and/or self-compassion is not some vapid exercise derived from a self-help book, it is the hard won achievement of diving into the darkest recesses of our beings to face both ourselves and our demons. And forgiveness of perpetrators has NOTHING to do with that exploration. It is stepping through shame to claim a life we can call our own. And for the record, the T.S. Eliot quote in my signature line says something close to your riff about healing rather than recovery...

We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time...

We go back to the beginning but we KNOW the place for the first time... I call that our inherent innocence. My work at the moment is risking opening my heart to that tenderness with the hope of meeting life from that place. Of course, we'll never erase the past so the person meeting the world in this moment carries wisdom as well as tenderness. I call that claiming my life. We are each engaged in our own healing journey with the same hope... release from the residue of trauma we've carried our whole lives. This is sacred work and this wonderful website allows us to do it with the support of other men. We really do this together. Thanks everyone for these deep, rich conversations.
 
Thanks for this @Visitor :)
Coming to self-forgiveness and/or self-compassion is not some vapid exercise derived from a self-help book, it is the hard won achievement of diving into the darkest recesses of our beings to face both ourselves and our demons. And forgiveness of perpetrators has NOTHING to do with that exploration. It is stepping through shame to claim a life we can call our own. And for the record, the T.S. Eliot quote in my signature line says something close to your riff about healing rather than recovery...
And I don't disagree. It's not semantics, but a different view on the same issue, I agree with you on that.
 

MO-Survivor

Registrant
This turned into a really great discussion. And yes - our stories are unique. Regarding the “why” of why my dad abused me, I was totally split in how I felt - and continue to feel - about it. The kid in me cared and wanted to understand. He wants to have empathy and wants to show forgiveness. He still wants the dad he always hoped for. The grown me really doesn’t care. I don’t care because he fed me excuses along the way while he was 1) trying to figure out why he did what he did because he knew it was wrong and told me so, 2) continued to abuse me, 3) implied blame towards my mom for her lack of interest in sex (it wasn’t until my mom found out about the abuse when I was 17 that she revealed her own CSA at the hands of her biological father - who my grandma kicked out). Our own healing can occur with or without conversations with our perp - but those conversations afford us opportunities to heal - if, and only if, we are in a place like @C. E. (Chase Eric) said - where we are able to set the boundaries and roles for such conversations and leave if the perp tries to drag us back into the same dysfunction as when we were kids.
 
Our own healing can occur with or without conversations with our perp - but those conversations afford us opportunities to heal - if, and only if, we are in a place like @C. E. (Chase Eric) said - where we are able to set the boundaries and roles for such conversations and leave if the perp tries to drag us back into the same dysfunction as when we were kids.
Yes.

For a while, I was conjuring up conversations in my head. Played out different scenarios, especially with one man around whom I have such conflicted feelings. Until it became clear that I will perhaps never have the chance to confront him. I had wanted to see him on trial, but for complicated reasons, that is unlikely to happen.

I also think my inner child would be likely to forgive him, but would not be able to move on because he is stuck in that momentum forever.

Who I am now is struggling with it. I did however encounter his lawyers and that was something that cured me from even wanting a confrontation with him.
 
@Gistin - you can still search for truths even when he is gone. My journey was inspired by a one-man play by Michael Mack called Conversations with my Molester: A Journey of Faith. Like you, Mack's own journey also ended before it could even start with the death of his perpetrator. And yet it still had the elements that saw him grow along that journey - the discoveries of little truths along the way, the discovery of himself and who he was just in the pursuit of the truth. I never thought I would pursue such a conversation myself. But my father and one other neighborhood dad had a meeting with my molester when he was caught abusing other kids (they didn't know about me) - and I spent years after that wondering what was said in that room. When my dad died, it was too late to ask him about it - if my abuser shared with my father what he did to me. When I was finally ready to ask about it with the other dad, he had Alzheimer's and I could not talk with him about it, either. The only person left from that meeting was my molester. So my conversation was originally supposed to be with my dad. And it changed. It was only going to be a simple question to my molester: Did my dad know what you did to me? But it became hours of conversations over several months. I never expected that. Your conversation was supposed to be with your perpetrator. But, perhaps like mine and like Michael Mack's - it simply means you are supposed to travel another road. Don't expect anything will go as you imagined - just travel. The world will unfold on your journey as it should.
Thank you for your response, I never knew this was out there but that interview connected on quite a few levels. I'm going to locate the play, and read more. Also, I had no idea that the series "Deliver Us" existed I may give that a listen as well.

Appreciate your response and sharing your experiences and journey. As @Visitor said "This is such a profound conversation. Thank you Eric and Darren for this exchange." I share these words.
 
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