Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Growing up my worldview was shaped of course, by my parents. As a child, it's all you know. We moved around a lot, sometimes twice in the same year. It seemed like I was eternally the "new kid".  One of the ways it shaped my ideas of boundaries is the way I always seemed to run into other kids who were sexually inquisitive like me. It wasn't until I was in my 60's that I really took a hard look back at that.

As a boy, I assumed because of that every boy or girl was curious about their body and wanted to "play". This occasionally led to some awkward and embarrassing encounters. Someone would say or do something that I would see as an invitation to go further and was surprised to discover that was not the case.

As I look back on memories of my childhood it becomes clear that my father had guided some or maybe a lot of my special friends to me. Some older, some younger and many the same age but all having the same leaning in common. I grew up believing anyone was a potential "playmate". And why wouldn't I?

It really didn't seem strange to me at the time. I had no experiences in which to compare. It just was how things always seemed to develop. So now in looking back, I've begun to see a pattern. I realize this was not normal. That I had been deliberately guided to certain families, certain friends and playmates and provided an opportunity to interact. This is more insidious than I realized. As I got into my pre-teen and early teen years I often caught dad watching or more to the point spying on me and my friends.

So, in my late teens and on I can see how I always seemed to see my friends and acquaintances as sexual beings first. A kind of automatic objectification of those around me. I find this really sad to realize and disappointed that in so many cases it became true and led to promiscuity instead of genuine friendships. Which also seemed to lead to isolation and confusion.

Train up a child in the way it should go and when it is old they will not depart from it. A Biblical instruction that when misused can be horrific. The ability to see this trend early on and do something about it is vital to the health and well being of a person.

More on this later.

3 comments:

Preston Hill said...

Dear Roger, this is a hauntingly beautiful post. I love and admire how you are diving deep into the relational dynamics of your story, and how your father in many ways set you up for an oversexualized adolescence. I think many of us survivors have had similar experiences, especially as males, for whom it is expected that sex is always wanted. Lord have mercy. Thank you for sharing my friend.

Roger Mann said...

Thank you Preston, I learned quickly at a very early age how to read people on a sexual level. Something no kid should ever have to think or know about.

Zale Dowlen, Attorney, MBA said...

Sexually abused children, as a whole, become "lightening rods" for sexual abuse. Unfortunately, in your case, your dad was also pushing you into the lightening storms, just to watch the show.

Realizing and owning the abuses of our childhood is hard. No one wants to recognize just how bad some childhoods are, especially when there were no bruises or broken bones. Healing from those abuses takes courage. I'm not sure that most people have that courage.

Thank you for sharing.