Friday, October 30, 2015

"When I Was a Boy . . .'

"When I was a boy . . ."

That's where my story begins; that's where our stories begin. If we can say those same five words, "When I was a boy," we've made an excellent start. Then we can add, "I was sexually assaulted." (Or abused or molested.)

I was a child, and I was innocent. I trusted someone and that person stole my trust, my innocence, and my childhood. I've suffered because of the actions of another person. No matter how caring, kind, or warm the perpetrator may have appeared to be, he or she took advantage of me.

If we can focus on our childhood and realize how immature and innocent we were, we can also remind ourselves that we couldn’t reason the way we do today as an adult. We may also have taken the guilt on ourselves for what happened. We remind ourselves: I was a child and the abuser was a perpetrator.

If we’re typical, we’ve already gone through (or are now going through) a period of questioning and doubting while vague, often terrifying memories occasionally intrude. Deep inside, something nags at us. Yet in our most vulnerable moments, we know the truth that someone stole our innocence.

One of the reasons I write this blog twice weekly is to remind myself and others that we're not the only ones. I knew I wasn't the only victimized kid, but I felt as if I were.

Many of us have been where you have been or where you are now. We've felt the same kinds of pain you have. More than just having been there, we have survived and are still overcoming the trauma.

In the early days of healing, any of us need to remind ourselves a hundred times a day that someone victimized us. Or it might be easier to say, "Someone older and more powerful took advantage of my innocence and youth."

We need to do it because we want to convince ourselves that we made up the stories, that it didn't really happen to us. We don't want to feel demeaned (although we are) and we don't want anything to reflect on our masculinity.

And we need to tell ourselves that we won't start a sentence with the words, "I should have . . ."

Go back to the beginning. Start with, "When I was a boy . . . ." That beginning can help us become kind and compassionate to ourselves.

We didn’t know how to cope with such seductive assaults—especially when it was someone we trusted who whispered, "I love you and I won’t hurt you."

Now we may choose to say, "When I was a boy, he lied to me." To make it worse, he bribed us, called us special, or made us feel loved and wanted. We were wanted, but for his needs and not ours. Today we hurt because in childhood we were victimized.

"When I was a boy" starts my story.
Now I am an adult and I'm healing from my childhood.


Andrew J. Schmutzer said...

When I was a boy...I was used.

When a therapist heard what I endured, he said, "You're going to have to address your guilt." But for me, there was no guilt...I only felt betrayal. It was a Christian parent, a missionary, a teacher, one that everyone thought well of, but no one "knew" what I did. Their hypocrisy almost destroyed my faith, not my guilt.

I've been learning the little boy's language. It's past time that I listen to his whimpers and understand his fears. It's kept me from talking to other little people around me. I'm afraid of their vulnerability and trusting spirit. But I'm learning to see beauty in vulnerability.

When I was a boy...I was betrayed.

Unknown said...

When I was a boy... I was abused & mistreated. It was not my fault.