(This post comes from an anonymous reader.)
I felt unloved by my mother; I was unloved and unwanted by my stepfather. “You’ll never amount to anything,” he said. I believed I was worthless. I was rejected at home but at the same time I wasn't allowed to participate in sports, or to join in Scouts. I never had the male companionship that every boy needs and longs for.
The first sexual abuse that I remember was at age five. After that, I told my mother that I could hit my “willie” and it would get stiff; and if I kept hitting it, I would feel good. Shortly after that, they had me circumcised. In those days, many parents believed it stopped masturbation. I don’t remember masturbating again until about 13 when a neighbor boy took me behind our garage and showed me how. That activity became my comfort.
In my mid-teen years, I was enticed by a man. An adult male wanted an unwanted boy. I would have done anything he suggested. And it warped how I saw myself for decades. I had kissed my girlfriend before that, and that had been my most electrifying experience until the same-sex encounter. From then on, I wanted to be a heterosexual man, but I was drawn repeatedly to same-sex encounters.
In my 30s, I married a woman who loved me unconditionally. But I couldn't bring myself to tell her my secrets. How could I survive if she left?
After she died, I comprehended the depths of her unconditional love. I found a folder of poems and letters that she’d written to me when we were dating but had never mailed them. As I read them, I knew she would have been by my side through anything that enabled me to be rid of secrets.
The biggest part of my burden was guilt over my cruising parks where I could watch same-sex activities. I told myself, Watching isn't as bad as participating. Afterward, my guilt was as dreadfully damning as if I’d participated.
As a result, for the last years of our marriage, I was impotent. Had I trusted my wife and let her share my sorrow, we could have had joyful sex.
I finally trusted my pastor enough to tell him some of my story. He sent me to a counselor to whom I told everything. Both pastor and counselor accepted me as a man of worth. They gave me hope.
Secrets are terrible burdens. They can destroy us.