Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Part of what bothered me so much in the early stages of my acceptance as a victim was the loneliness. Unable to talk to anyone about the huge secrets I carried was a huge burden. A burden I never realized I was carrying until I finally told someone. I couldn't believe what a relief it was. I cried a lot just to know I was heard and believed and it was okay.

This is one of the major reasons I've agreed to do this blog. I haven't forgotten both the feeling of carrying the load and of finally having someone to share it with. Later on, I found a website that specifically was designed for men who were victims to come and talk with others, share their stories and feelings and get support. That again was huge, almost intoxicating. I was not alone. It was not my fault. I was believed.

The first time I tried to share with someone on a different site, I was not believed. I was very upset that I have finally opened my soul to another and was put down like someone just seeking attention. I never told anyone else until that day in counselling as mentioned above.

Why don't we tell? Because it hurts too much not to be believed and thought evil of. This is dark stuff but it dies in the light and telling can remove the teeth from the memories.

Just my thoughts

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Betrayal has a way of causing a hardening of the heart. In medicine, if we give too much calcium we can end up with a condition we call stone heart. Due to electrical imbalance, the heart just freezes up and won't beat.

The heart of a child needs the right stuff too. Love, discipline, attention and affection. I only mention this because I've realized that my emotional heart is a bit erratic. Sometimes it's overly excited. Sometimes it's unresponsive when it really needs to respond.

The other day my wife was feeling really down. I wanted to comfort her, needed to comfort her, but all I could do was listen silently. My thoughts were all about how her angst was making me feel. So I said nothing and she finally stopped talking and fell asleep.

I don't know how to handle people who are upset, especially when they are upset with me. I either go silent or defensive. I either freeze, run, or fight back. It's all about me. But it's always been all about me. I had no one to turn to, no safe place to go. I withdrew into myself and stayed there. I hardened my heart. I will not be hurt anymore. I will not feel the pain.

The problem I've discovered is this. When you turn your heart to stone so the pain can reach you, the love can't reach you either. I need to learn to soften up, let the walls down. I'll feel the pain, but I can feel the love also. It's scary, it's not easy, and I'm sometimes very afraid of what might happen.

I'm a grown man now though. I'm not a frightened lonely needy little boy anymore. I can learn and maybe I can really connect emotionally even in uncomfortable situations. I'm not alone anymore and that's a big difference. I need to remember that.

Just my thoughts.

Friday, October 11, 2019


I heard someone speak about boundaries in a context I hadn’t thought about.  In the area of sexual abuse, many times before anything really sexual happens there are boundaries that are crossed. They may seem harmless inadvertent actions or comments. An innuendo, off-color joke or comment of a sexual nature. Sometimes even a suggestive leer. A kind of testing of the waters to see if one might take things further. Some have insisted that this constitutes a mild form of sexual abuse. These days we'd categorize it as sexual harassment if it happened in the workplace.

I know as a young boy I was occasionally taunted by older boys about not having a knowledge of sex that they had or not being interested or even embarrassed when the subjects would come up. I felt shame that I wasn't privy to certain knowledge that my peers thought I should be.  I saw it as an attempt to destroy my innocence. If they only knew, but I played dumb and let them make fun of me because I had secrets that I didn't want anyone to know about. They might want to know how I learned what I know.

I’ve had older boys try to cross those boundaries with me with the idea of seeing if I'd be curious enough to allow them to guide the conversation with a point of grooming me for something more.

My boundaries were crossed during the wee hours of the morning on I don’t know how many countless times before I was old enough to become aware. I was slowly conditioned to respond in a compliant manner so that the more serious abuse could escalate.

Boundaries are important but much more so for the young who cannot understand why they are important.  Once crossed successfully, the course of one’s life can be derailed onto very harmful tracks.

Those who should've protected me the best failed the worst. Thank God I’m being put back on good solid tracks.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Change takes courage.

Which sometimes I don't have a lot of. But I remember when I finally got desperate enough to reach out for help in spite of my fears, change began to happen. Fear is the killer. Fear kept me in denial and confusion for much of my life.

But sometimes life gets you to a place where it's either stay in pain, anger and confusion and spiral down, or start looking for help. Sometimes help is hard to find. I think that's what kept me blocked for so long. I knew what I was doing was not working. For me, it was making things worse as far as relationships with family and friends, some of whom understood, some didn't and I lost them.

I didn't realize how valuable an objective look at my struggle and my woundedness would be. There were things I would never have noticed before without help. And it was seeing those things that helped me to effect the changes and move on.

I've come to agree with the books I've read that insist you can't do this alone. And not just for those insights but it really helped so much to talk to someone who "got it" and could reassure me I was not crazy.

There are some great books out there on this subject of recovery from abuse. Journaling did help me focus and articulate the hurt. But nothing beats a listening ear. To be believed was a huge thing with me. I think that's true with a lot of us too.

We were not meant to struggle alone. It was not our fault. I'm not the only one. Those truths were my Seeds of Hope and I'm here to pass those seeds on.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Part 3 of Joe's story,

Shortly after 9/11, I was diagnosed with P.O.T.S. because I’d black out frequently after standing up. I was put on meds but I’m always on guard of a blackout since my heart rate would go to zero during those episodes. I was hospitalized twice. Slowly, I became a recluse in my own home and spoke to no one unless I had to.

Over time, the flashbacks weren't as often, maybe once a day and eventually I was able to have intimate moments once again with my wife after nearly a 10yr hiatus. I don't know why she stayed with me but I’m grateful.

About a year ago, I was in the doctor office with my wife going over my blood work since I have severe hypertension. The doctor said he wanted to do a full physical and I literally freaked out like a raving lunatic. I told him if he comes near me that I’d hurt him and I meant it. I couldn't relive that again. I jump off the table ready to take him out. When we got home, I had to say something. This was not me, I always had everything under control, (cool and calm). I could only tell my wife the bare minimum of what the doctor did to me during grade school, no details

Over a period of months, I felt the need to tell her more but couldn’t tell her, so I wrote emails explaining everything as best as I could. I
was beyond terrified because I was sure she'd leave me. Who would want tainted goods or want to be with someone who held this secret for over 40yrs? How could I ever be trusted? I’d never cried so much in my life. I’d get mad at myself since I believed real men don’t cry; they just suck it up and move forward. That was how I was raised. I expected anger and resentment but she opened her arms and gave me a huge hug and said it was okay and said it explained a lot of my personality.

For the first time, I felt like a heavy weight was taken off my shoulders. I can’t even remember how many times since then that I apologized and asked if she still wants to be with me but the answer was always the same; she loved me regardless of what happened. Eventually, I felt overwhelmed and wanted to apologize at what kind of dad I’d been while my kids grew up. I was always there physically but not mentally.

So, what is blocking me from moving forward? I know I won't see a counsellor or even attempt to join a group with other men living through this. I'm just not ready and I can't trust anyone. My hope is one day to accept, acknowledge, and forgive myself since it was not my fault but I’m light years away from doing so right now.


Friday, September 27, 2019

Joe's story, Part 2, used by permission.

By 19/20, I was working full time and met my wife. I was terrified because I feared that this relationship would fall apart and once again, and I’d be left with nothing.

That relationship grew and we were married a few years later and I said nothing to her about the abuses. I was afraid she would be upset and want to leave me. Why wouldn’t she? I held in a lie for 40yrs, so how could I be trusted.

Shortly after getting married, I struggled with the sexual component of marriage since all I knew was that it was dirty and wrong, and which would be a trigger for flashbacks.

By the time I was 23 until my early 30s, I turned to alcohol to stifle the memories. I was not a drunk, I only drank enough to numb the pain but that grew into drinking up to two gallons of wine a week and, when my wife was not around, I would hit the liquor cabinet and drink vodka right from the bottle. No one suspected a thing; I was a master of covering this up.

One day, my wife said I should stop drinking since we had two toddlers and it would be bad for them to see that. I quit cold turkey that day knowing she was 100% correct, but I needed an out. With alcohol out of the picture, I took all of that anger, embarrassment shame and focused it into my work. I excelled at work and made more than enough to support my family with what they needed and wanted, but then 9/11 happened (that is another long story), being a few blocks away from a falling building with no place to go. Outside when the smoke and debris-covered us, part of me hoped that this was the end and the nightmare was finally over, but that did not happen.

To be continued.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Here is one of our Brother’s story. I’ll call him Joe.

This is part 1

Well, here is my story and I can’t believe I’m writing this. I share this to help others who experienced the same and thing. I’m not looking for pity or sympathy.

40yrs ago I was sexually abused by four different males for five or so years. Things were done to me, which were wrong and I was forced/blackmailed to do things I didn’t want to do but had no way out.

During this time, I was also physically and mentally abuse with bouts of neglect by my mother. The bouts of neglect from her were terrible as if I didn’t exist in the family

These people are still alive and nearly all of them are relatives, except one school doctor who was supposed to do a full physical twice a year, which was more like fondling and other things.

All I wanted since I was a young child was to be married with kids of my own but I felt that slowly was being taken away from me.

When the abuse ended, in my early teens, I’d lock myself in my room, go to school, come home, close my bedroom door until dinner. I’d eat dinner and speak only if asked a question, which was rare. Afterwards, I'd go back to my room and eventually fall asleep. I felt dirty, filthy, used, and contaminated so I distanced myself from everyone, especially if they were male. I couldn’t and still can’t trust another male.

By the age of around 12 or so, I was in a very dark place mentally... all memory of which is suppressed. I do remember finding myself in the kitchen several times with a knife in my hands thinking that was my only way out. What else could I do to make it stop, I felt powerless. I knew it was the coward’s way out so I never went through with it. I knew it was wrong.

used by permission.