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.

Why Me? (Part 2 of 7)

Why did my perpetrator choose me?

Katariina Rosenblatt (mentioned in the previous entry) pointed out significant reasons we were selected as targets. Here are three of them.

1. Abuse within the home normalizes that type of treatment. One of our frequent commenters, Roger, has made several references about what his father did to him. Why would he question the ongoing behavior as a young child? The molestation took on a form of normalcy.

2. Economic disadvantages, such as coming from a single-parent home. My parents were poor and I was the fifth of seven children. I rarely got attention and never any affection at home. Hence I was open to anyone who showered me with attention and affection (even false affection).

3. Seeking a father figure to fill a “daddy hole.” Although we’ve discussed this before, we can overemphasize it. I believe part of our hardwiring—part of being a creation of God—is the inborn need for fatherly affection. If we don’t get that in childhood, most of us search for someone to fill that role for us. Too often, it’s a perpetrator who knows how to spot needy kids.

We become the target because of a normal, childhood need.

Because of our natural need for affection and attention 
perpetrators took advantage of us.


Roger Mann said...
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Roger Mann said...

That is so true, Cec. I was desperate for the three A's from my father who withheld them probably due to the conflicted conscience. He desired my body but shame cause him to pull away emotionally. When he came to me for sex I naturally assumed it was because he finally was going to love me as his son. There was much confusion for a long time on the interpretation of his behavior toward me. I think now some part of him did love me on some level but the shame of his lusts for me and the knowledge that as I got older I would one day figure out what was really going on kept him at a distance emotionally.

It was a sad dynamic that, minus the sexual part, I also inflicted on my first born. We never did any thing sexual but I did distance him out of fear of becoming my father and it hurt him almost if not just as badly. Kids need the affection, acceptance and affirmation from their dads. If they don't get it, it does indeed wound them and abusers can see it written on their face and body language as if it were lit up on their foreheads. I have often felt I must have had some target on me that only certain people could see that said "love me and I will do anything"

Mark Cooper said...

Good points here. In our home it was normal to not talk about what was real. Normal to "know" we were OK because of the strict set of religious rules we followed. As a child, my memories of being raped, although vague and sketchy, were simply normal - because those memories had always been there (or so it seemed) and because I couldn't talk to anyone about them who would tell me otherwise.

The father wound is also so big. Whether it come through sexual, emotional, physical, spiritual abuse, it does great damage. I believe the father wound can come as well through the simple fact that no dad is able to be perfect, and therefore there are times he will fail his sons / daughters.

But of course when abuse is present, that wound is exponentially magnified.

Economic issues - yes, I see that as well. My dad had a large family. No much money. He worked hard to provide for his family. THAT is the only attribute I remember mom crediting him with, when I was a child.

I think it is also important to realize that economic disadvantage does not mean that abuse is a given. I believe there are families who are needy economically, but who are rich in their genuine love and care and nurture of one another.

Thanks Cec for another insightful post.

Cec Murphey said...

Roger and Mark,

I deeply appreciate the contributions of both of you. You not only use your names (and Roger a photo as well) but you encourage other men to be more transparent about themselves. And that also means, you aid in their healing.