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#195216 - 12/14/07 04:24 PM Hiding what was happening.
FormerTexan Offline

Registered: 09/12/04
Posts: 12125
Loc: Denver, CO
Inspired by another thread, I want to throw this out there.

It seems many of us became very good at hiding what happened to us, perhaps even made it our own area of expertise at the time. Being an expert at this time was a survival mechanism to keep things from becoming worse than they were. I know my imagination ran wild with what could happen if I revealed what was going on.

However, and I could be wrong, many of us at the same time wished someone could see what was happening so that (possibly) the abuse could be halted. Now, I am certainly not attempting to cast blame anywhere, for I would have to blame myself in the process. But we had to hide what was happening because of fear for greater ramifications. Now knowing what we know as adults, it is easier to punish ourselves further with "why couldn't anyone see what was happening" when in reality we were protecting ourselves as children from further potential disaster that could result from revealing what happened.


Money talks, but all it tells me is goodbye.

If I could meet myself as a boy...

#195220 - 12/14/07 04:43 PM Re: Hiding what was happening. [Re: FormerTexan]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA

I'm quite sure you are absolutely right. In my case, yes, I was all the time wondering why no one could see what was happening to me; it occurred to me that maybe they did see and I just didn't matter. But at the same time, hiding what was going on was my Number One priority and the main concern of my life. I rehearsed my excuses over and over and worked out foolproof scenarios that I could use to explain myself.

If the abuse had been exposed when the abuser was finally caught with me I am quite sure the results would have been catastrophic for me. Back then (1963) CSA was not on anyone's agenda, and the abuser was a "fine upstanding citizen". How could I have faced the humiliation and shame had the whole thing been known to others? I was already suicidal, and I imagine that would have pushed me right over the edge.

Much love,

Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

#195221 - 12/14/07 04:52 PM Re: Hiding what was happening. [Re: roadrunner]
FormerTexan Offline

Registered: 09/12/04
Posts: 12125
Loc: Denver, CO
Good points Larry. Looking back, I was already a walking target for neighborhood kids. They would have had a heyday with me if word got out about my mother.


Money talks, but all it tells me is goodbye.

If I could meet myself as a boy...

#195222 - 12/14/07 04:55 PM Re: Hiding what was happening. [Re: roadrunner]
buzz_key Offline

Registered: 03/31/07
Posts: 635
Loc: USA
Good discussion...yeah...I had to hide it cause i was convinced by my dad that i wanted it (hence the hardon)...if anyone my age found out that i was causing my dad to have sex with me...i would have been a leper.

also, my perp was my dad...and even though we didn't have food much of the time, he beat us...he was all there one else...if i had told anyone...where the hell would i have ended up?

i DID act up...smoking, drugs, vandalism, theft, refusal to work at school in hopes that someone would wonder and investigate and find it themselves...then I couldn't be blamed for it getting out.

But no one did...they just lived their own lives never wanting to interfere.


#195236 - 12/14/07 06:16 PM Re: Hiding what was happening. [Re: buzz_key]
EGL Offline
Moderator Emeritus
Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 7821
Hiding it -- In looking back now, what seems so odd to me is that back then I thought I was doing an exemplary job of hiding what was happening to me on several fronts. But in reality, I think that perhaps I didn't really have to try so hard to do that. It's like I was so terrified of anyone finding out that I overcompensated in my efforts to hide it? Like the others here, I think I lived in fear that some how, some way, others could tell just by looking at me. Or that perhaps someone knew and it had been told to others, etc. Paranoia set in early with me. And when the abusive friends came along who wanted me to gratify them, I figured they must have heard what I was so it as like "O.k., they're in on the secret now. They know."

I think the reality of it all was, though, that none of them knew about the others. It was simply my paranoia of it all that led me to believe that it was all collapsing to create what was going on around me. And that perception that I had of myself and what others thought of me is what fueled my inability to set the right boundaries.


#195237 - 12/14/07 06:28 PM Re: Hiding what was happening. [Re: buzz_key]
Stephen_5 Offline
BoD Emeritus
Registered: 09/12/00
Posts: 667
Loc: Northern California Foothills
I couldn't let anyone know what was happening to me, I thought it was all my fault. My mom was an alcoholic and my dad was traveling for his work. When he was home he was never there emotionally anyway. When he left for a business trip he always told me that I was the 'man of the house' while he was gone. That meant that I was responsible when my mom went out drinking. I think that I always liked guys better than girls and I thought that the abuse was punishment for those thoughts. I was very afraid to see my abuser anywhere around town. I always thought that he would tell about what he did to me and what I did to him. I thought that it was all my fault and I would be the one getting into trouble for it even though he was older and bigger than I was. I was thinking like an eleven year old kid and I continued to think like that for 38 years, never telling anyone about what happened.

I thought that it should be obvious that something was going on when the abuse was happening. I thought that he was right, that nobody cared. I held two very different views on what was happening; one, that it happened to everyone and nobody talked about it; two, that it was just happening to me and I could never talk about it. That's how I survived. I know better now and I'm thinking like an adult and I realize how I was manipulated and used.

Take good care of yourselves,


I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center.
Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007)

#195240 - 12/14/07 06:40 PM Re: Hiding what was happening. [Re: buzz_key]
TJ jeff Offline

Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 3576
Loc: Northern Wisconsin
yeah - I know I hid a LOT of stuff over the years growing up

some stuff I did consciously hide from others because I was afraid of what they would think of me (ie - not showering with the other boys in gym class so as the other boys would not see the physical abuse and poke fun at me about it)

a lot of stuff I think I just kind of subconsciously hid though... - I know that as a young kid (up to about age 6) I was very energetic - very outgoing - very expressive- but as I got older all of that left me - I became very quiet (though never labeled as shy) - very emmotionless (a face that is just plain void of all emmotion)

I guess that by the age of 6 I'd already been abused enough that I just somehow believed that the problem must be "me" - that "I" was the one who was causeing my mom and uncle to do the things they did (I think moms verbal abuse is what really drove that feeling deep into me)

I now "mentaly" know that I am not at all at fault for what was done to me - but part of me (that subconscious part) still struggles with believing the "facts" as I now know them today

Yes - there are now people who know all of my past - I'm not hiding it completely as I have in the past - but... there are still tons of people who I do hide it from (people who I think would not believe it - or possibly blame me - or look at me diffrently because of it - ect...)

I know though that there was times when I did try to reach out and tell others - I just sadly did'nt do it directly by saying it word for word - I somehow thought that others would see and help just through my being so difrent from the other kids

There are people though that did know and did nothing - but i think I'll talk about that in a new thread

Larry - we sure had good reason to fear the humiliation and shame of others finding out (it's etched permenantly into my mind forever the day the gym teacher made me shower with the rest of the boys and what they done to me when they seen the abuse of my mother)

Who will cry for the little boy? - I will... - Antwone Fisher

Abuse happens in silence/isolation - Recovery happens only when that silence/isolation is broken...

TJ's History

#195261 - 12/14/07 08:05 PM Re: Hiding what was happening. [Re: TJ jeff]
Still Offline

Registered: 02/16/07
Posts: 7011
Loc: FEMA Region 1
I get just SO overwhelmed thinking about these aspects and details of those days. It makes me wonder; If the adult I am today can't even look back at those childhood days without getting weak in the knees, how the fk did the kid ever survive it?.....How did the kid ever act his way through life?

#195292 - 12/15/07 12:01 AM Re: Hiding what was happening. [Re: Still]
sabata Offline

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 1950
makes mew wonder-Rob-----------

#196096 - 12/21/07 02:21 AM Re: Hiding what was happening. [Re: FormerTexan]
cbfull Offline

Registered: 01/26/07
Posts: 386
Loc: Ohio
For me, I wouldn't say that I wished someone could see what was happening so that it could be stopped, I was afraid that if anyone knew that it would be stopped. I didn't want to lose the "acceptance" and "intimacy" that I thought I was being given.


Guilt and shame have never done any of us any good at all.

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