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#28343 - 03/15/05 03:18 AM Shame
Bobby Offline

Registered: 12/01/04
Posts: 1287
Loc: Arizona
Ah, anonymity, what would I do without it? I swore when I started here that I would be absolutely truthful. I have honored that promise. I didn't realize when I made it, however, how important it would be that no one find out who I am....not that I'm important enough to anyone here to care, but I would be a basket case by now. I have created this personality, you see, and it would not be good if there might be a chance that someone would find out who I really am. No one knows me. That's how a person who has absolutely no self confidence or self respect survives. He creates an acceptable personality because he truly believes that who he is is not worthy of life. Another legacy of our SA?

Now that I have said that, I intend to bare a bit more of my soul. If you don't give a shit, don't read on.

If you do read the following, you will understand how truly messed up I am and why I wouldn't want anyone anywhere to know my true identity.

First of all, I am a good person. I really am. I am loving and kind and would do anything I could to help anyone. I would go out of my way not to hurt your feelings. I love to create. I love to dance. I love to sing. I am the complete extrovert in an introverted kind of way. I love people. There is not a harmful bone in my body. I am an innocent.

It is my shame that takes what I have said above and makes me unacceptable and strange. If I could just be that being I have described, I would be one of the happiest people you know.

I am ashamed of being gay. (with apologies to my gay friends....I am not homophobic about anyone but myself) I have somehow known it....called it being a sissy....all of my life and knew that it was a horrible thing. I knew that I was hated for it because it was one of those unstated secrets shared by dysfunctional families. I was gay and no one would ever acknowledge it. It was somehow worse than being rejected for it. It was a silent rejection. It was like everyone was looking at shit and calling it a rose. It has made me dishonest with almost everyone I have ever known.

I am ashamed that I am afraid of everyone in the world. I am afraid that they will hurt me. I cannot trust them. I must hold my true self secret....not just the gay part of myself, but all of the true parts of me, because all of me is unacceptable. No one can be trusted, because you can't sort the truly good people from the truly bad ones.....and once your secrets are out, you simply cannot go on.

I am ashamed that I am afraid of being poor. Who the hell knows where that came from? There was one Christmas when I was told that there wouldn't be enough money for presents, but we were not really poor. But somehow that fear got planted inside me. I fight it day and night and am determined not to be miserly or ungiving, but it is an everyday struggle. I constantly fear that there will be no money for survival.

I am ashamed that I cannot control my obsession with pornography. I am more ashamed that I don't want to. Everytime I indulge myself with porn, the whole time I am doing it, even as I do it, I am digging a deeper hole of depression about who I am.

I am ashamed that I wasn't who my father wanted. I am ashamed that I was damaged goods...that, like pinocchio, I could never be a real boy.

I am ashamed that I never made enough money to make my mother think that I was a success in life, and that, though I was good at what I did, she always thought of me as an underachiever.

I am ashamed that I am ashamed of myself, that I cannot climb out of my shame and rise above it and tell the world to eat shit and die, and to just be who I am and climb to the top of the mountain and plant my flag.

I am ashamed that I am fat, that my mother used to look at me and tell me how good looking I would be if I were thin, that my father in law's friend told me on the eve of my wedding that my father in law would be proud of me if I weren't so fat. I am ashamed that, even though I have lost 85 pounds, I am still fat.

I am ashamed that I was always just talented enough not to accomplish my goals....that no matter how hard I worked I just couldn't quite get where I wanted to go. I am ashamed that I gave up too easily. One set back and I turn my tail and run the other way, because I know I'm not good enough to make it.

I am ashamed that I cannot love the people that I want to love. I am ashamed that my body will not repsond the way I want it to respond and that I have a need for someone that I'm not supposed to need in my life.

And I am angry. That's what puzzles me the most. I am angry at everyone because I am less than I want to be. Somehow I have blamed everyone else in the world for my shortcomings. I want to lash out. I want to scream at the world for what it has done to me....and I am ashamed of myself because I know that I have done these things to myself.

And I cannot, no matter how hard I try become angry with my father for what he did to me. Somehow, it was all right. Somehow it was all right that he did those things to me.

And I don't understand why I'm not mad at him. Why I just sort of sit and look at him and go with him each day over and over again and let him take me into the other room and fuck me. That's what he does to me every day in my mind. And I let him without thinking and without remorse and without any reaction mentally or physically. I go, he does it, and I go back into my shell and wait for him to come again the next day.

The rage inside of me is not to be believed. But it is a hidden rage....a quiet rage....a somehow non-esistant rage. But I feel it. I cannot tap it, but I feel it and I know it is there. It is turned inward and it festers and it eats at me and it feeds my shame.

And I am ashamed because I fear that I feel sorry for myself, although I try so hard not to, and I can't quite tell the difference between feeling the pain and feeling sorry for myself for having it. And I don't know whether I should stop myself from having the pain or if I should jump down inside it to feel it and that by feeling it understand it and get rid of it.

There is something very soothing about the pain. There is something very soothing about silent cries of anguish made by the child who is despeately trying to claw his way out of my soul. To feel him, to be him, is to somehow connect with the only time that I ever really felt.....anything.

And I am ashamed that I think that there is no love for me in the world and that if you knew me....really knew wouldn't hate would simply not want to be around would have no use for me.

And so each day I get up and I put on my Bobby face and pull my Bobby personality around my bones and I go off into the world. Once in awhile someone gets a glimpse of the real me....I have slipped. I must be more careful.

I'm healing now, and I wasn't sure I would.

#28344 - 03/15/05 03:40 AM Re: Shame
ForeverFighting Offline

Registered: 02/09/05
Posts: 1253
Loc: New Mexico, USA
What our families do to us! They so mess with our minds, and then we fight it the rest of our lives.

The comment that stood out to me was:
I am ashamed that I wasn't who my father wanted. I am ashamed that I was damaged goods...that, like pinocchio, I could never be a real boy.
My dad, now approaching 60, told me a couple of years ago that his relationship with his son would have been better if he'd had a different boy. In other words, after all these years, his neglect, physical abuse, and competitiveness are still MY fault. I don't think so.

If we back away from the whole thing and look at it as a father with a brand new little boy, if he mistreats or "doesn't get along with" or feels threatened by the qualities he sees in that little boy as it grows up, whose fault is it? The big strong manly man can't "get along" with the little tyke? I don't care what my baby might be like, I would love him, give him time and attention, help him feel safe, and let him be the man he grows up to be. Why? Because he deserves to be treated that way. And possibly if our fathers had treated us that way, made us feel whole, safe, and OK, we wouldn't have these fights inside that happen every day.

Be yourself here. That's why we're all here.

"This search for the truth--it's not for the faint of heart."--Goren on 'Law & Order: CI'
"The former things will not be called to mind, nor will they come up into the heart."--Isaiah 65:17

#28345 - 03/15/05 04:42 AM Re: Shame
FLRich Offline

Registered: 06/21/04
Posts: 1404

You don't need to be ashamed, buddy. You're human. We make mistakes. But most of what you are ashamed of is not a mistake you made, it's the mistake that was made on and to you by others that you thought you could trust.

Our only 'mistake' was trusting those that we should have been able to trust.

I was never sexually or physically abused by my father. In fact, that would have actually required more time than he was ever capable of giving. Please know that I am NOT condoning abuse. I'm just saying that he was never there for us. He couldn't be bothered. When I was being sexually abused, I KNEW he was the last person I could tell and expect help from. He was too busy running around with his whores. I couldn't tell my Mom because somehow she would have made it all my fault anyway. It would have to be something I did to turn these freaks on. I still have those thoughts and feelings. Thanks Mom!

I think Forever Fighting summed it up best with his quote:
'What our families do to us! They so mess with our minds, and then we fight it the rest of our lives.'

My family never abused me, but I knew not to tell them about it, so in a way, they did actually abuse me. My mind goes a thousand miles a second. I can concentrate on nothing, except blips of guilt, shame, and perverted sex that I was forced to participate in. Would my mind still be this way if I was able to tell them all this over 35 years ago? I'll never know. I know also that now I will never tell them anyway. Not because they don't deserve to know about it, I don't deserve to have their feelings of guilt turned around on me, and then have more to feel guilty and ashamed over.

Shame and guilt have pretty much consumed my 48 years on this Earth. Will I ever be without it? Will any of us? God, I'm hoping so! I think this is probably the place to dump some of the shame and guilt we carry. I read about others' wives not understanding why they come here so much. Mine is the same way at times. They don't understand, no matter how many times you try to explain it. They can't understand because Thank God Almighty, they haven't been sexually abused.

My wife doesn't understand how I can "love" other guys, that I have never seen or know anything about. I may not know everything about them, but what I do know about them and what they have endured and survived through, more than justifies me loving you guys. I have found a brotherhood of sorts here.

Maybe together we can finally get rid of this shame we carry. I pray for that for each of you every night.

#28346 - 03/15/05 05:00 AM Re: Shame
Dan88 Offline

Registered: 08/07/02
Posts: 247
Loc: DC
Trigger warning. I got a little graphic in this response, but honesty is my policy too. Ignore it if you're not up for it.
Wow, Bobby, so much of what you said really touched me. It was as if you were writing about my own experience.

I got so good at wearing that mask, I could forget what I really wanted in life. Got so tired of it that at the end of a work week, I'd spend a whole weekend hybernating just so I didn't have to pretend. If you don't move at all, the mask can't slip.

How about being too ashamed to be seen without a shirt at the beach. Or too ashamed to take advantage of job opportunities that were practically handed to me. Or too ashamed to accept invitations from friends because what if they found out who I really am? On and on it goes. When I think how much time I've wasted carrying around someone else's shame, it pisses me off all over again.

Fact is there's a great big fat point to getting angry and processing that anger. It puts that shame right where it belongs. People who rape kids? SHAME ON THEM. People who close their eyes to it? SHAME ON THEM. Not us.

I remember my first trip to see a therapist. We talked a lot about some people who were treating me pretty shitty at work. Finally he asked why I wasn't angry about it. I said, what would be the point of that?

He said my problem was I was so afraid to feel anger because I feared it would never stop. But I needed to accept that I was worth getting angry for. Just for myself. Anyone else treated the way I was treated, I'd be angry for them. But not for myself, because I didn't think I was worth it.

So I started thinking about it. A boy who's 6, 7, 8, and thereabouts getting yanked out of the bathtub and raped on the floor of bathroom. Or being photographed naked with his brother. Or being made to masturbate the minister sitting by the bed reading Bible lessons at night. And on and on.

How does it make you feel when I tell you parts of my story. Angry, right? But I didn't allow myself to feel angry. Not for years.

To get angry about it means recognizing exactly how bad it was. Your dad, just like the minister who raped me and my brother for years on fucking end, is an evil piece of shit. Personally, I'd like to kick his ass. A good and kind man, which I know you are, would feel that anger on behalf of what happened.

Total up everything that was done do you and look at it hard and ask how would you feel if that shit happened to someone else? Well, you owe it to yourself to feel that same anger on you own behalf. Feel it. Express it. Get it out and examine it. Process it. And don't be afraid. You've got every right to be angry and direct the shame where it belongs.

Personally, I'd be proud to know you. I like people who have courage, and it was brave to share what you did. I like people who are honest. That promise you made is the same one I've made here. I tell only the truth. Feels good. And you know what? I bet more people like the real you than you know. You just can't pay attention to that because you're expending too much energy keeping up that mask.

Sounds to me like you're on a good path questioning and poking at this stuff. Keep up the good work.

Take care,

#28347 - 03/15/05 05:34 AM Re: Shame
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Once in awhile someone gets a glimpse of the real me....I have slipped. I must be more careful.
"Why ?"

Go through that list you wrote, do it carefully and slowly. Write down the 'reasons' that make you think you need to cover up the "Real Bobby".
Then see if the 'reasons' hold up to critical examination.

My bet is that YOU can demolish all of those reasons.


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

#28348 - 03/15/05 06:32 AM Re: Shame
xenoman Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/11/05
Posts: 18
Loc: Montana
I am so sorry you have had to carry all of this around with you for so long. I admire you for having the courage to share this with us on this site. I feel your pain and wish I could put my arm around you and tell you how worthy you are.
You are a person of worth and that is something to build on. Expressing your thoughts here I am sure made you feel better. I used to be a prisoner of my own mind and never felt like I would be free. I started writing like you did here. whenever you feel bad get out your legal pad and trash can and write and write and write.
Empty that stuff out of your head and tell yourself over and over that you are a person of worth. My prayer, thoughts, and words of comfort go out to you. Keep on the journey we are going to make it.

#28349 - 03/17/05 09:19 AM Re: Shame
Andrew Offline
Moderator Emeritus

Registered: 07/25/03
Posts: 1192
Your writing, brutally honest, speaks volumes about you. You write of shame and fear, pain and despair. And whenever you sit at the keyboard, the mask you speak of slips just a little further, allowing us a shaded glimpse of your struggles.

You have so many reasons to be proud of yourself.
Your writing is amazing. Your honesty almost painful.

You wrote the following words, whose message is so familiar to me, and to which I so completely relate.

There is something very soothing about the pain. There is something very soothing about silent cries of anguish made by the child who is despeately trying to claw his way out of my soul.
Thank you for sharing Bobby. Peace, Andrew

there is no courage without anxiety

#28350 - 03/18/05 01:46 AM Re: Shame
Stephen_5 Offline
BoD Emeritus
Registered: 09/12/00
Posts: 667
Loc: Northern California Foothills

I didn't tell anyone about the abuse for about 38 years, not even my wife. I finally had to deal with it or it would have driven me crazy. Six weeks after I had started therapy, without telling anyone that I was even seeing a therapist, I told my wife on our 28th wedding anniversary. Just a bit. That it happened. That I was seeing a therapist about it. That I wanted to feel whole again. My wife was very supportive of me even when she found out about all of the other 'acting out' stuff that I had done. She died almost two years ago now. If I hadn't started dealing with the abuse issues when I did I never could have survived all of my health problems and my grief. I learned to grieve for the loss of my innocense. I learned to accept the past for what it is, the immutable past. I've become more honest with myself and more open in my dealings with others. Everyone doesn't have to know that I'm gay but I no longer care who does anymore. I don't have to hide, I don't have to be afraid. I like myself now more that I have all of my adult life.

Bobby, you are a wonderful individual. I can see the compassion in your writing. Give yourself the gift of your own compassion. You are worthy of it.

Take good care of yourself,


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)

#28351 - 03/18/05 03:11 AM Re: Shame
Brayton Offline

Registered: 10/21/03
Posts: 696
Loc: Minneapolis
After recognizing so much in your experience that resembles my own and wanting to say something positive and possibly helpful, I think of what the woman who regulates my meds tells me each time I visit her every 6 to 8 weeks.

You are a very courageous man.
This is so easy to forget and is startling each time I hear it.

It's true for all of us.

I think of myself as being invisible emotionally and even physically, a skill learned through close attention early on. I understand now that the technique is sometimes called hypersensitivity. It is exhausting and leaves little energy for much of anything else.

It was/is dissembling, faking it, presenting an "indentity" which I think they will find acceptable. Have to have an answer for every question (else I have failed) and a justification for every mistake (else the mask falls, exposing me to all sorts of assault).

Fear of everyone is a given. Counting the people I mostly trust doesn't even take up the fingers on one hand. And, I only mostly trust them. The potential for (or promise of) betrayal lurks in each moment.

Shame, of course, is a deadening emotion. Most people in our culture (American, at least) are surrounded by shaming language and behavior. My shame is reinforced almost constantly.

I, too, am ashamed of being gay. I hate myself for it. And, that combined with CSA has resulted in life-long s'xual dysfunction.

P'rnography. Plunged into horrible self-loathing and depression every time I use it. (I don't want to describe the humilitating mix of use and dysfunction.)

Thank g-d for disassociation and loud Walkman music to take me away or drown out the surrounding world.

Sometimes, things just won't work the way we want them to.

#28352 - 03/22/05 02:15 PM Re: Shame
stickman Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/22/05
Posts: 2
Dear Bobby,

I just joined this group tonight, posted my first bit of introduction, and have just now read your post above. When thinking about all the shit that goes along with abuse it's very hard to find the right words, and sometimes there's just no consoling someone I guess, as I know from experience. I would like to counter one of your comments though, that I felt was untrue.

You wrote:
"And I am ashamed that I think that there is no love for me in the world and that if you knew me....really knew wouldn't hate would simply not want to be around would have no use for me."

First off, I guess I should take my own advice here, as I certainly share a lot of what you're feeling, but, aside from that... Good folks don't keep people around or hang around with them just because they "have a use" for them. They do it because they genuinely like being with the person. Maybe the key word there is "use". If it's reciprocal it's fine to use someone for something... that's what community is all about. Sure, I have a use for my friends, few and infrequently seen as they are, (but less about my sociopathy, and back to you)... I have a use for them, and they for me, but you spend time with someone for other reasons, as I'm certain you're aware. You're not an object to just be used, though it sure feels like it when you're treated that way as a child. You're a goddam person and using is a two-way street. Sure you're there to be used by someone you care about... used for pleasant company, a good laugh, dance partner, whatever. Conversely, a good person is there to be "used" by you as well. When you're beaten down, you come here to use people in this group, I hope. That's what they're all here for (I'm assuming anyway... like I said... I'm new here). I guess it's a matter of seperating the two "use"'s. "Used and abused.. discarded" = bad... obviously. "Used to lift your spirits, and being used to help some friend move house or hook him up with the new lonely girl at your office"... that's the good use. Use away, and don't assume that someone's not gonna want to hang out with you just because you don't think they'll have a use for you. All right... maybe I'm rambling a bit now. Hope it made some sense.

I see by the others posts above that there's people here who seem to have a good use for you, judging by the thank-you's that you just got... use that gratitude and compassion that's been offered, it's free.

Take care.


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