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#18130 - 09/30/03 12:35 AM Why didn't I do something?
crisispoint Offline

Registered: 09/24/03
Posts: 2154
Loc: Massachusetts
I often wonder about this. Why didn't I tell someone?

Why didn't I stop this man from hurting me?

Why didn't I stop him from hurting others? There were others, I know it. How many more do I carry on my conscience because I was afraid of him?

Did I like it? Did I want it?

Am I just bulls**ting myself and everyone else when I tell people they should't feel guilty when I feel guilty?

Is it wrong to seriously want to hurt this man? Is it wrong to want to ruin his life?

Did he ruin my life?

Did I let him ruin my life?

Am I being selfish now because I need to talk about it?

Am I as dirty as he said I was?

Please, God, let me get over this.


There are reasons I'm taking medication. They're called "other people." - Me, displaying my anti-social tendancies

#18131 - 09/30/03 06:47 AM Re: Why didn't I do something?
theo Offline

Registered: 09/28/03
Posts: 1122
take a moment, if you can, and really think about the questions that are tormenting you right now. who is the real author of those words? if it is anything like me, the real author of similar words that torment me are the ghosts of those who have harmed me so badly. it is not the questions themselves that are so tormenting it is the implication behind them...they say we could have done so much more than we did. those are the voices i hear everytime i begin to go critical but it is my voice that is full of the anguish. consider the following...

----"Why didn't I stop him from hurting others? There were others, I know it. How many more do I carry on my conscience because I was afraid of him?"

i once held a child in my hands that was so innocently born of a distant family member and his new wife. she was a beautiful baby girl. i held her in my arms and i was so filled with joy at the bundle of life encased within my arms that i was about to burst with the feeling. i was staring into her beautiful newborn eyes when all of a sudden i knew what her life was to turn out to be. i am not joking here at all, somehow, i knew this child was going to suffer a life of unimaginable pain. i was so shaken with this "vision", for want of a better word, that i could not speak for the tears for several moments. i finally told the family member about what i saw and he said he would not let it happen. i will not go into the hell her and her sibs endured under the wife of my family member, but it all came to pass. ten years after the birth of that wonderful child, her and her sibs were finally taken away into protective custody but not until all five suffered permanent brain damage along with devastating mental handicaps. "why didn't I do something to stop this before it all happened??"i was 17 when she was born. to this day it still haunts me like few events do. what was i afraid of? what could i have done? that still haunts me, but what i have learned is that the voice in my mind that condemns my inaction is not the voice of who i am as the person that saw that vision. the voice of condemnation is the voice of those who degraded me as a child. this is the important part here, scot, i was taught to not question my family..."we stay together no matter what". it was the training i knew so well. i knew what was going on in his house and i was effectively powerless to stop it because of what was litterally beat into me. "we never tell on the family"

----"Am I just bulls**ting myself and everyone else when I tell people they should't feel guilty when I feel guilty?"

again, ask yourself where this guilt really comes from. one quote that has had such an impact on my life is this, "with great power comes great responsibility" (yes, i am a huge spiderman fan ;-) ). how i set myself up with that one in the choices and self perceptions i have had can fill a book! the point here is that by taking that as my way of life and the insight i learned from the abuse i had forgotten about until recently i set myself up to a surreal image of perfectionism. this only applied to relationships and friendships. i would be so hypervigilant in not making the same mistakes i saw growing up, that when i did make such a mistake i would hate myself with an intensity that is terrifying. i would not give myself so much as a millimeter of leeway when it came to such things, but i would got to the ends of the earth to justify anyone else making a similar mistake. do we bullshit ourselves when we say to another human being that they should not feel guilty about a sincere mistake when we baste ourselves over the fire we stoke ourselves? no, we are repeating the drills we were taught in that we as individuals are not worthy of such compassion as we show others.

bottom line, scot, we are not the voice of hatred...we were the recipients, and that legacy haunts us until we face it for what it is. this is what our seperate journeys are all about i think.

journey well,
theo dewolfe

- It is gift, and gift will find its way
- I inherit through my choice. I build through my affirmation. It is through my freedom that I nurture, or fade into autonomy
- I was not given to serve life, but to embrace it

#18132 - 09/30/03 01:51 PM Re: Why didn't I do something?
MrDon Offline

Registered: 01/08/01
Posts: 957
Loc: Deltona, FL
I often wondered why I never went and told someone or found a way to stop it.

but, when I start trying to see things for what they were, than

I was only a 4 or 5 years old when it started

By the time I could figure out that it was that was going on, it had become a way of life.

I was told over and over that this was how we respected our parents, loved our parents, and how god loved us.

It became an almost daily event for me until I escaped and went to college.

When I was born, my father had hepatitis and so my mother chose between spending time with me for the first few weeks or being with him. She chose him. I spent my first few weeks being loved, cared for by complete strangers.

There is so much more I could state but the thing was for me, it was a way of life. I didn't know any other way of life out there. I didn't know at the time that what they were doing was different than everyone else in the world. I just figured everyone went through this same thing.

But I also learned from an early age that the people put in my world who I was supposed to learn from and trust and love, etc were the same ones that were violating this trust, this love, this learning.

And if we violated anything sacred to the family or the secrets, there were severe consequences for us which were revealed when someone would attempt to get brave. Consequences included anything from beatings, whippings, the "silent treatment", to the minister coming to counsel you, to ridicule to just being the "family scapegoat" for that moment.

Sometimes I want to think, oh I was wrong because I stopped none of it, but then I usually try to find a small little 5 year old boy and try to reason with myself if that little boy could stop a father (a 230 lb monster) and just where would that little boy turn (or feel safe enough to turn to). The church didn't protect me, my friends didn't protect, my family saw it and turned the other way, the community saw it and turned the other way.. There was no one.

I realize my situation was probably different than yours, but i have learned that it is much harder for us to look back through the eyes of our little boy and understand that there isn't much they could have done.

While I have begun to understand more of this, at times I still want to think that I could have stopped it all.....

sometimes still, it can be a struggle in accepting this for myself.


In order to journey to new worlds, we must first be willing to lose site of the shore.

The Mind Body Thoughts Blog

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#18133 - 09/30/03 05:48 PM Re: Why didn't I do something?
Mike Church Offline
Moderator Emeritus
Registered: 01/23/03
Posts: 3439
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Crisis Point:

I cannot answer the questions for you but I can tell you how I relate.

Why didnt I stop them? Why didnt I tell someone?

I was told that I would be branded a faggot and that nobody would believe me over them. And besides I got erect and had orgasms so they were only doing what I wanted and that indeed I was a faggot( I do not use that term in a derogatory manner for my gay brothers at this site but merely to point out my terror of being found out and what it would do to me in the military).

Who could I tell. I was 17 when it ended and it was 1958. I was terrified of telling anyone because of the above and because I believed what they said. And I kept quiet except for one person. And I will not go into that again. It was my dirty little secret.

Is it wrong to seriously want to hurt this man? Is it wrong to want to ruin his life?

Did he ruin my life?

Did I let him ruin my life?

Am I being selfish now because I need to talk about it?

Am I as dirty as he said I was?
The tried to ruin my life or I tried for them. It is in my control to deal with it. If I talk about it it is no longer my dirty little secret and the telling is like lancing a boil, painful at first and them cathartic. I was never ever as dirty as they said or good for only one thing.

Please, God, let me get over this.
I too said this. But it was I that am working to get over it. It is hard to do an draining both mentally and physically. But it is my choice.
It really boils down to this:

Am I going to let the past ruin my future where I intend to spend the rest of my life, or must I acknowledge the past and not let it interfere. For me it is the latter.

Is it wrong to seriously want to hurt this man? Is it wrong to want to ruin his life?
It is our right to be angry. For too long I directed the anger inward or towards those I love. I am right to be angry at them and want to hurt them and to ruin their lives. If I knew who they were and where they are. But to do it on my own is being less than what I am. To let society judge them I think would be far worse than anything I could do.

I hope this helps a little.



#18134 - 09/30/03 09:52 PM Re: Why didn't I do something?
ecb Offline

Registered: 02/04/03
Posts: 205

I spent a fair chunk of my life wondering this as well. (Sometimes I still do.) There was no overt force involved, no threats, yet I never told even though my perp had a younger brother and sisters. But I never told anyone. The reason? I didn't know to.

I didn't know that what he was doing was wrong. He was an older kid and I looked up to him, and it was something new and different. I didn't like it, but I had learned that growing up involved all kinds of things I didn't like to do that I had to do anyway and I guess I just thought that this was one more.

I look back on it and can see the door leading out of the room. I think to myself, "why didn't I leave? Just say 'no I don't want to?' or walk out? or both?" the answer is, simply, I didn't know to.

I know he had a little brother and sisters. And sometimes it just kills me to think that maybe he didn't stop with me, that I could have said something and stopped him, but didn't. But again I have to look objectively at little 8 year old Eric and realize that he didn't have a clue. And when I do I tend to find myself full of rage that anyone could take such a clueless child and use him in such a way, but guilt is secondary to the anger now.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this Scot, except to say that I think you are doing what I did (and sometimes still do) and thinking about it like an adult, and not like a scared little boy that you were at the time. We don't like to think so, but as kids we had very, very little power over our world.

I hope that this helps Scot, and that I didn't assume too much about what you were talking about. \:\)


#18135 - 10/01/03 12:02 AM Re: Why didn't I do something?
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire

You were a little boy.


Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau


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