New here - my 1st attempt to tell my story publicly, so to speak...
It’s so crazy the way memory works - or doesn’t. Some things I want to remember, I find slipping away and being lost, while other things I would desperately like to forget refuse to lessen in intensity and detail and strength. I am amazed that memories of decades past still have the power to ensnare, imprison and torture me. I seem to still feel the emotions and reactions raised by some memories just as immediately and devastatingly as if it were the first time and was really happening now. Maybe even more so – as if I was anesthetized at the time and the past events are now taking place with full impact. It’s overwhelming. Incredible as it seems, many of these painful memories were locked away for long periods of my life. I can only wonder what other memories lie hidden, lurking in the shadowy recesses of my unconsciousness. Sorry – this is long…
First bad thing – My father died when I was nearly three and the funeral was on my birthday. Many of my birthdays have not been particularly happy. I only now realize that my birthdays must have been very difficult for my mother too.
Second bad thing – I know something happened in the basement of the apartment building where we lived between my third and fifth years. The first time I was aware of this was when I was 35 and going into the cellar of an old house we were renting. The musty smell, dim light, arrangement of steps and walls and the unfinished ceiling, walls, and floor triggered a panic attack that has left me wondering what took place there. I was immediately absolutely sure where and when that momentary flashback came from. But I have not been able to remember anything else. My mother told me nothing occurred. Did she not know or is she repressing it in denial, as she has done with so many other things since?
Third bad thing – My mother remarried when I was 5 ½ – to a pillar of the church and community. He was wracked with guilt for the death of his first wife, daughter and son in a car crash while he was driving, and he inflicted his pain on his new family. He was physically, verbally and emotionally abusive and marginally sexually abusive. He whipped my brother and me mercilessly with his belt or with a freshly cut switch for real or imaginary offences. He belittled, insulted, mocked, and put us down constantly and told us we were worthless and would never amount to anything. He was always comparing us unfavorable to his dead children who were perfect in every way. He exposed himself to me on a number of occasions and encouraged me to touch him. He repeatedly gave my brother and me enemas for no apparent reason. He talked about sexual matters to us in inappropriate ways for our ages but also punished us severely for any independent display of interest in anything to do with sex or our genitals. He once threated to cut off my genitals for a minor childish show and tell when I was about six. He kept us isolated from our peers, not allowing us to associate with kids our age except at church. We were not allowed to go to anyone else’s house and they were not allowed to come to ours.
Fourth bad thing – I was an “early bloomer” who matured a couple years ahead of my peers. While still of the same stature as my classmates, I looked nearly fully developed in the genitals by the age of 11. This dramatic contrast of adult-looking private parts on a small and slight boy’s body was spectacular enough to attract unwanted attention and give me a reputation beyond my circle of acquaintances. I was trapped and molested in the school rest room, the middle school locker room, at the Y swimming pool, and on a scout campout, forcibly exposed, stared at, stimulated and played with. This happened at the hands of various people – some that I knew and some that were strangers. I felt like a freak, a soul-less object and a worthless piece of trash that happened to be attached to a coveted set of genitalia. I remember some details of these events as clearly as if they were happening now before my eyes. Others are indistinct as though seen from a great distance outside my body with the sound muffled and other senses disconnected. I never told my parents what had happened because of shame and fear of being ridiculed and punished. I can’t imagine that the adults responsible for overseeing the school, Y, and scout troop were totally unaware of what was going on. I can remember at least five events outside the home as well as several abusive episodes at home by the age of 13. There may have been others that have been repressed, mingled or dissolved into other memories.
Fifth bad thing – I became the scapegoat of the Jr. high school because of my physical precociousness. Add to this the fact that I would escape into books, writing, drawing, school assignments and projects as relief from my unhappiness. This made me an overachiever and “teacher’s pet.” I was bullied and persecuted constantly for two years until I wanted to die. The head bully and ringleader of the tormentors was the top jock of the school – a couple years older than the other eighth graders and very well-developed both muscularly and sexually. When forced to compare with him, I was totally humiliated. He was a handsome idol who everyone hero-worshipped and made me feel small, inadequate, inferior, ugly, and useless. I began to suffer from frequent migraines, nightmares, recurring dreams, night terrors, and sleep-walking and talking from ages 11-13. My parents doubted the migraines and were alternately irritated and amused by the other problems. I probably would have taken my own life if my family hadn’t moved to a different town where I was unknown and could start over. Most of the symptoms decreased significantly or disappeared entirely soon after the move. My parents assumed I had “outgrown that phase.”
Sixth bad thing – because of my stepfather’s abuse and my enforced isolation and the bullying at school I became very distrustful of everyone and found it impossible to establish normal friendships or relate to others on either a casual or a deeper level.
Seventh bad thing – I was molested again at the age of 15 in the changing room of a menswear shop by a tailor taking my measurements. This time I was old enough to be aware of what my options were and weigh alternatives. I did nothing to resist because by the time I realized that it really was happening, he was holding me by the balls. I had also been conditioned never to question or resist an adult. And I was afraid that if I made a sound, the other employees would find out what was going on and either make fun of me or gang up and join their co-worker in the abuse. So I did nothing – at least consciously of my own volition. But physiologically, my body reacted in what I now know was a predictable way. I got an erection which the perp enjoyed before he finished with me and I managed to get my pants back on and escape. And then I really hated my body for betraying me by getting aroused when my mind didn’t want to. But that other part of me was responding and couldn’t resist or prevent it. The mental and emotional conflict felt like it would tear me apart. Of course I said nothing to anyone of what had happened. I tried to forget it all and put all those thoughts, questions, doubts, troubling emotions and memories out of my mind. I succeeded for years.
Regards to all -
Edited by ModTeam (11/09/11 04:47 AM)
Edit Reason: Trigger warning added.
"My experience has shown me that I all too often tend to deny that which lies behind, but as I still believe, that which is denied cannot be healed." Brennan Manning, "All is Grace - A Ragamuffin Memoir"