Sunday, October 18, 2020

I have a six-month-old grandson. I look in his eyes and he's so trusting and loving to me. I realize I too must have been like that at some point. But when a child looks at someone older and bigger and is completely helpless and they are let down, I suspect it begins right then. 

The child must trust the adults or older ones in their life for safety, love, and all their care early on. But what happens when they no longer, even for a few minutes feel safe? Or what happens when they become fearful of their caretakers? Or when they no longer feel they are loved and valued? 

I suspect it's at that instant they begin to lose some of their innocence and the sudden reality of how helpless and vulnerable they are at that moment hits them. That must be a terrible feeling especially to the very young. 

I'm not sure exactly when it happened to me. But at some point I realized, probably on some primal inarticulate level, I'm on my own right now. I do remember one evening I was about 14. I was talking to mom while she was doing dishes about how strained I and my father's relationship was. It got quiet for a few seconds and I decided to tell her why I no longer respected him. I can't remember the exact words but she must have known what was coming and immediately changed the subject. 

As I stood there looking at her back and realizing she had just shut me down, I got this sinking, heavy feeling in my chest and realized she didn't want to hear what I was about to say. I was on my own. 

Thankfully for me, as a Christian, I was never alone and never would be in a spiritual sense and that helped ease the blow that night. For many though, that sudden realization, whenever it happens can be tragic and devastating even if they can't articulate it. 

Just my thoughts

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

 Self-worth

Growing up part and maybe a large part, of my self worth came from my desirability as a boy and young man. I wasn't good at sports and I wasn't a rough and tumble kind of guy. I was interested in sports but not to the degree my peers were. If my team won that was great but I wasn't all "end of the world" if we did badly. It was a game, period and that's how I saw it. I went to school to learn stuff I felt I needed to know. Anything else going on was incidental. 

I was teased a lot, pushed around some too. I got into very few fights because I was pretty vicious when it came to fighting. I always felt if I hurt someone badly enough they would leave me alone and that's pretty much what happened. I always felt I was an outsider in grade school and especially in the jr and high schools.

Where I felt really desired, appreciated and special was during the abusive moments, even the unpleasant ones. I found out early how to open doors as the song goes with just a smile. And that eventually just made things worse. 

I had trouble with jobs as I got older because I craved the level of attention and acceptance that I seemed only able to get with those certain situations that seemed to harken back to my early abuse days. Maybe it would have been better if they all had been really scary and awful but most were not bad and the ones that involved my dad led me to conclude that was what I was really good for. 

I have spoken to others who were abused and ended up feeling similar. Their self-worth seemed only positive when they were in some form of reenactment of their abuse.

Learning to find value and self-esteem from healthier activities has been a life long process bu;t has definitely been worth it. I look forward now not back to find myself and it has freed me from a lot of depression and self-harm.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

 Addictions and fetishes?

In my discussions with a lot of victims and a few perps, I've noted an amazing variety of addictions and fetishes that have been born as it were, from these abuses, especially the ones begun in childhood and teen years. I've had to deal with my own issues in both of these categories and trust me, it wasn't easy. I went for years in weird behaviours never realizing that in some cases, I was reenacting childhood trauma. Several times in my own personal counselling sessions I was led to view things from a more normal perspective and thereby realizing I was totally missing what should have been an obvious inappropriateness. 

I can remember several times leaving my sessions after spending minutes weeping uncontrollably over some revelation that turned my world upside down. Or maybe I should say right side up. It was painful.

One that I will relate here is the time my counsellor asked me to relate my first experience with sex. I talked about it for a few minutes and then he asked about my second, then my third. I was beginning to get the uncomfortable feeling he was perving on me when he stopped me and said he wanted to point something out to me. 

What he then pointed out was that he had asked me about my earliest experience with sex and I would always go to my earliest experience with my abuse/abuser. He pointed this out and said "Roger, you equate sex with your abuse. That's not sex." 

When I realized that in my marriage I was reliving my role as the victim instead of really relating to my wife as my lover; when I realized where I had been placing her as the seducer, I broke down for probably five minutes. I knew nothing about intimacy at all. I'd failed in my role as husband and lover and ruined intimacy for both of us. 

We never really know sometimes the whole ramifications of what might have been done to us and our view of healthy normality. With good professional help, much can be done to steer us back to healthy sexuality. I am forever grateful to those who were willing to wade through the mess of my life and lead me back out of the twisted mindset to which I was blind.

Don't be afraid to ask for help. It's worth it. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Shattering the Silence: Walls and Perceptions

Shattering the Silence: Walls and Perceptions: (This post comes from Roger Mann.) Sometimes I have trouble being around other men because we tend to get close after a while. That makes me...

Sunday, July 19, 2020

When I was growing up still just a kid, I never thought it remarkable that my sleeping habits were marked by what I understand now was some strange experiences. I was a very sound sleeper when finally and fully asleep. That's not unusual I guess but there were times I'd wake in the morning undressed or uncovered or both. I just assumed I'd kicked off the covers, (we lived in Phoenix, AZ), and/or my sleeping attire for that night.

There were other things but those were the most remarkable as I look back now. I was used to having strange dreams and was an occasional sleepwalker. I'd often wake up in the living room or kitchen again sans clothing. The sleepwaking carried on through college which gave me a lot of ribbing from other guys in the dorm. I also talked in my sleep occasionally which for my roommate was entertaining/annoying too. I accepted this as not normal but not unusual for someone my age.

The nightmares didn't start till after I was married and in therapy. While in therapy things I'd repressed began to surface and that led I guess to the nightmares. They weren't often but me waking up screaming was upsetting my wife. Luckily those only lasted a few years and tapered off. I'll have maybe one a  year or so now. I'm not sure what it's all about and I don't usually remember what it was I dreamed so I just take it a part of the package.

Seriously, I never really accepted that I was as screwed up as the above would indicate. It was just what was for me. In reading about other's experiences I'm a little taking aback that only a small minority share many of my symptoms and those that do have gone through hell.

We each deal with our own demons but I've come a long way with mine and I never really thought I would. I attribute that to my faith in God. He's amazing.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Father's Day,

Father's day; the celebration of Dad's everywhere is painful to me as you might imagine and I'm glad I'm not attending church tomorrow to see it all shoved in my face.

That said, there were some good things about my dad. First and foremost and probably his saving grace, was that He loved God. He may not have been dad of the year, but he taught me much about God, the Bible and gave me my first real study Bible that I read and teach from still today. He stayed with my mom and provided for us as best he could all his life. There were several things that I remember and things my mom told me that let me know there were times he was proud of me. I think he probably loved me as best he could in his twisted way due to his own childhood.

In my own way, I loved him back. Even though there were times I was really angry with him. As a kid, I really looked up to him. I can remember playing church with my little sister and imitating his preaching style. And of course, I took an offering.

I have a lot of his traits and mannerisms which I've mixed feelings about. Occasionally I'll catch his scent in my sweat which makes my stomach knot up but reminds me that he was my father and we share genetics. He gave me my work ethic too and that has stood me in good stead over the years for which I'm grateful. He was pretty intelligent too and I probably get that also from him again for which I'm grateful.

So, yes, there are things I'm grateful for and I hope in my heart I've really forgiven him. So I've tried to come up with some good things to remember about him today. It wasn't all bad but some of it was wrong and should not have happened. I guess many guys could say the same. No dad does it perfectly ever but it could have been much worse and so for that, I'm thankful.


Today, I'm thinking of boys everwhere and praying for their fathers. God bless us, everyone.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Control

One of the first things I've noticed in all of this COVID-19 nonsense is the growing feeling of a loss of control. Control has always been an issue in my life. As a kid, of course, there is no control. I was at my parent's discretion on what happened to me and how I was allowed to respond.

As a teenager, we start getting a little more control of our lives but in my case, my father being a pastor and all I was under an extra demand to be an example of what his teachings were all about. And then there was the other stuff that was going on that I was under an imperative to keep the secret.

When I left home at 18 for college, I pretty much went out of control. I went to movies, dances, parties, and listened to that awful music on the radio of the 60's and 70's. Really terrible stuff right?

Well, having my sexuality manipulated like dad did, I also explored a lot of things I'd only heard about. I was not a good Bible College Student and left after a year and went to Southern California. Again, not good, but I felt in control for the first time in my life. It was an illusion but I still bought it.

Now with all this pandemic stuff, those old feelings are creeping back up on me. I'm fighting to remember that God is still in control and he is not my earthly father. I can trust Him.

The world right not seems out of control. That's a trigger for sure, but I can work through that now. It's taken a lot of work and counselling but I'm in a good place now if I can just stay there.