Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Life Is Messy

(This post is from Roger Mann.)

Life is messy. Messier than I ever imagined. I grew up in a house that celebrated truth and honesty. At the same time, I was told/taught to keep secrets and lie. I was just a kid, but there was something about it that didn’t sit well with me. But being 9 or 10 years old, what did I know? “Father knows best” is what I was told.

Even as a kid I got an uncomfortable feeling in my stomach about what was going on, but I was conditioned to override that and obey my parents.

But stuff like that won’t stay silent for long. As a teenager I began to see that Dad was not so all-knowing and perfect as I had been led to believe, and that made me mad. I had been lied to, betrayed, and eventually set aside. He hadn’t given me much attention throughout my childhood, but what he did give changed to less and less as I got older. I think he began to worry about what I might say or do.

I let it go. There was nothing I could do that would not cause even more problems, so I left home as soon as I could. I think he was relieved. I thought I’d managed to get away and put all that behind me. I was wrong. All the secret abuse and lies didn’t stay buried. The older I got, the more problems I seemed to have until finally I had to deal with it all.

The anger didn’t go away. The flashbacks and the bad dreams that scared my wife led to my trying to deal with it on my own. That only made it worse. I was a lost soul, and the foundation I had so carefully laid began to crumble beneath me at around 45 years old. I needed help and I searched to find it.

When we reach a certain age, we often look back on things. That’s when the fa├žade shows its cracks. For me it was 45, and I have talked to many others around that age with similar stories.

Whatever your age, get help. 
You can’t do it alone. 
The results are worth it.


Mark Pendleton said...

Hi - This is Mark. This is my first time posting. I just signed up to receive notifications. I'm a survivor or sexual abuse by my father. He also passed me around to other men. There was long term emotional, verbal and some physical abuse too. One of the outcomes was a pervasive sense of powerlessness sexually and in other ways, along with same sex attractions. I spent 11 years in the gay life being reabused, but this time I could chhose abusers I could control. It was insanity. I've been out of that life for 17 years, but still deal with the shame of my time in it. I do have some good male friends who haven't struggled with what I struggle with and I have shared details with two of them. It's been encouraging and hopeful to read through your posts.

Mark said...

Hi Mark, thanks for joining! Your point about the gay lifestyle giving you the opportunity to chose abusers you could control is a powerful statement. I think many of us who have battled with sexual sin have not realized that we are reliving the trauma of our abuse, in a way that gives us the illusion of control.

For me, homosexual fantasy and gay porn made me feel powerful over men.

Mark, you are a warrior, your battle has been long, and I know it does continue. But do not lose sight of the fact that your story has the power to help others move towards freedom from their abuse and abusers.

Unknown said...

Mark Cooper, well stated.

Mark P, thank you for being so open, especially in your first post to this blog. That took a great deal of courage, and I applaud you. Many of the readers of this blog understand your situation. SSA is, IMO, the most denied struggle over which male survivors struggle. Thank you for being so transparent.

Unknown said...

Thank you Mark for your encouragement.

Unknown said...

Thank you Mark and Dec for your encouragement. I've been praying for a support group for male survivors for years.

Roger Mann said...

Thank you Mark P and the rest for your comments. We are not alone, sadly but it's bittersweet knowing and hearing that. I've often wondered why in some families kids seem like nothing more than furniture. To be used and set as window dressing for a parents pleasure. Not quite human but tools for their needs and entertainment. I was a person as soon as I was born. I was a real person at 5 and a very aware person at 10. But I don't think my father noticed till I was in my teens. That's when he became more careful about his actions. So strange.

Thanks again.

Mark said...

Roger as I read your above comment, "....in some families kids seem like nothing more than furniture .... tools for their [parents] needs....", I thought "Well, my parents didn't treat me that way!"

And then I had to stop myself. Truth is, I don't know what I was for my dad. Most of my childhood, I felt I was absolutely nothing to him. Did I bring dad pleasure? Or did he use me because I had brought him pain by even being born? Was he proud of me? Embarrassed by me? Consider me a nuisance,a failure, a financial setback to his dreams for his future?

It wasn't until I was an adult that he began to show me respect, in a direct, sort of man-to-man, way. I valued that show of respect. I think it was genuine on his part. But so much damage had already been done.

And he failed to show the respect that was most important, taking responsibility for what he had done.

As I write these words, trying to express my thoughts, I find that I feel confused. Which is appropriate.

Mark Pendleton said...

Thank you Roger and Mark for your comments about your fathers. I don't believe my earthly father has really ever shown me respect...or acknowledged my worth and value. When I confronted him about a nightmare of being molested as a toddler in a crib I didn't tell him he was the predator. He knew it though. Later that day I remember him physically looking down at me with the most sinister (slanted eyes and a smirk) look in his eyes. It was sadistic and he took pleasure in it. I described it to my wife and she said "he was acknowledging that he knows that you know, but there's nothing you can do about it". There are times I feel trapped because the he passed me around in a well known men's organization.

Roger Mann said...

Mark, reading your comment gave me chills. That a man could do that to a child, even his own flesh and blood, means to me that he valued you only as a tool, a plaything and enjoyed the power he had over you. I have know others like that. I would consider myself lucky to have survived if it were me.

Mark Pendleton said...

Thanks Roger. One thing I would like to share is how God overwhelms each new flashback and revelation about my abuse with something truly miraculous. I now know He does that to build my faith and trust in Him and so I won't slide into despair after each new revelation. The divine interventions help keep me moving forward and they restore my hope. Even with all the miracles, I still cannot imagine God as Father. Every now and I then I imagine sitting with Him beside a pond with my head in His lap and we talk. I hope those visits increase in frequency and length. Very thankfully, I find it much easier to connect with Jesus. I feel safe and loved with Jesus.