I hurt for a long time because of childhood sexual abuse. Now I want to provide a safe place for hurting men to connect with other survivors of sexual abuse. Talk to us. You don't have to use your real name to share your experiences or ask questions.

What's Wrong with Me?

I cringed when I heard other men speak of their painful childhoods, especially when they talked about how they hated what was done to them. I hated those things too. But it took me a long time to admit they were also telling my story.

Even at six years of age, something inside told me the abuse was wrong; another part of me admitted that it felt good. For a few minutes, it seemed that another person loved me. I was worthwhile and acceptable.

But afterward. After my perpetrator was finished with me—that's when reality struggled to the surface. I felt confused and condemned. That man did something terrible to me. As an adult, I told myself that I should have hated it, struck out at him, yelled, or pushed him away. Instead, I had gone back the next time he offered a snack to come into his room.

What's wrong with me? I didn't ask myself that question when I was six or even when I was ten. And yet the question was always there. If it had been such a terrible experience, why did I enjoy it?

Now I know. I needed the emotional connection—even though it was false and temporary, I needed to feel loved. I still needed those things after he pushed me aside.

What's wrong with me is that I was a normal human being. The wrong person deceived me and made me believe he was offering affection and compassion—that he cared about me. He cared about me as a means to satisfy his lustful needs.

Nothing was wrong with me;
Something wrong happened to me.

(This post was adapted from Not Quite Healed, written by Cecil Murphey and Gary Roe.)


Anonymous said...

You nailed it with "I needed the emotional connection—even though it was false and temporary, I needed to feel loved." That's why I cruised--to "enjoy" a few minutes of acceptance and transitory worth. Afterwards came the emptiness.

Cec Murphey said...

Excellent comment, Anonymous
All of us need to feel loved and if we don't, we find ways to fill that void. It can be sexual activity like you mentioned. My younger brothers drank. The need is so pervasive and demanding, we can't ignore it. The love substitute works--for a time.
Or as you said, "for a few minutes."

I'm sorry for your pain--and for the pain all of us survivors have had to endure.

Roger Mann said...

I grew up with an emotionally distant but angry and unpredictable father. For me that was a normal world and I accepted it as how things are. I can't remember when the abuse began but one night when I should've been sound asleep I was awake during the episode of fondling. When he realized I was awake and not resisting things with dad escalated to more intimate activities.

For me, once again this was what my life was. That dad was paying 'special' attention to me and only me (I assumed), was like water to a thirsty soul. I accepted it and did what I could to encourage it because, well, it was something. And when you are 10 years old and so far have had nothing but harsh treatment or totally ignored you take what you can get.

I totally get what the writer is saying here. It was not till I was in high school that I realized other boys do not have this kind of relationship with their fathers. We moved around a lot. I didn't tell, and went back as often as he would have me because as I said at least it was something we could share as father/son. It was an emotional connection for me if not for him and at that age I needed that from an older male. Unfortunately it translated into a warped sense of relating and took me a while to untangle in my head.

Just for the record I did have occasionally other mentors that tried to be there for me but I had no idea how to relate to them since it didn't involve any unhealthy interaction and left me confused and a ache I couldn't articulate. Most of the time it just left me feeling like a freak.

Jacqueline Kohlenberg said...

Thank you for sharing your testimony. It gave me more understanding of what my ex-boyfriend may have been enduring! I still pray for him and hope that God speaks to him and gives him strength. He has turned to heavy drugs and we haven't talked much since we separated 13 years ago but I've always tried to be there for him when he calls. We have a 15 year old son that is hating him right now for all that he had done but I keep trying to tell him that's not healthy to do. Even though I've gone on with my life and have gotten married since then. I praise God for giving me a husband that is in love with God and me and all five of our children and four grandkids! Growing up in an abusive home myself caused me to think that my ex was all I deserved. That I could never have a normal life like some of my peers. Boy was I wrong! God is good and loves you and I very much!