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#35028 - 01/14/03 04:17 AM First Post: Breaking the Code
Enigma Offline

Registered: 01/07/03
Posts: 17
Loc: California
Hi, long post, question at the end. Thanks for reading. My background:

I was abducted at the age of six from my mother by two sociopaths, who happened to be my father and stepmother. They were high function sociopaths and had the tacit support of the community for the “extralegal” possession of me, since my mother was struggling in her life.

They were also self righteous lunatics behind closed doors, intent on creating the picture perfect family, at any cost. The cost to me was the annihilation of who I was at six, and the brutal, perverted process they used to “re-mold” me into what they wanted—think Leave it to Beaver, and the Lawrence Welk Show mixed together and you’ll get the picture, if you can stand it.

I share a lot of the same type history with survivors of destructive cults or political prisoners – the total isolation and control of my environment, the severe psychological and physical abuse, repressive enforcement of arbitrary rules. The memories of the physical abuse were more or less available to me, but really hit home when I was in a long term relationship with a woman who has two children. I was in therapy for almost seven years during this time, which helped keep my head above the surface, sometimes just barely.

Memories of the sexual abuse are more recent, in the past year. They are fragmentary; a mixture of body memories, feelings of dread and terror, and yes, sometimes shameful excitement.

My father and stepmother were on a campaign to destroy the bond I had with my mother, and even more important, bind me closely to them. They employed severe punishment for the crime of wanting my mother. They employed sexual and emotional seduction to bind me to my new mommy. It worked. Kind of.

I know the outlines of a great emotional conflict I must resolve somehow: terrible rage and burning anger towards my perpetrators, and loyalty/devotion/love towards my protectors. Unfortunately, they are the same people.

I also know that as I got older, my stepmother’s sexual abuse towards me became more private and sadistic, as her marriage to my father became troubled. I am not sure when I’ll be ready to face that particular terror.

So, reading the posts on this board, it’s clear that I’ll be working through the anger, grief, terror, etc, before getting *true* access to the positive emotions (I’m pretty good at the pretense of looking happy and relaxed).

A question for all who can answer: I have been in the place of anger and sadness before, but with no resolution. It wasn’t fun, it didn’t solve anything. I am willing to try again, but I need some advice on how to move through the pain and get to the healing part instead of getting stuck. Can anyone shine a light for me?

Thanks, SFChris

#35029 - 01/14/03 08:30 AM Re: First Post: Breaking the Code
andrew-almost52 Offline

Registered: 10/31/02
Posts: 243
Loc: canada
Hi Chris, sorry that you went thru what you did, but glad your journey has finally brought you here.

In answer to your question: There are no short-cuts. You must get a therapist. Preferably one familiar with sexual abuse issues. Shop around, don't be discouraged, there are some excellent therapists out there.

Read everything you can about the process of healing from SA. Write a journal. Participate in this discussion forum. You will realize you are not alone. Your struggles are not exclusive to you.

But mostly, don't let your victimization continue. Recognize that it happened. Feel sad. Feel angry. Attend counselling. But keep on pushing ahead with life. Don't let your unhappy history with SA become all consuming, it is only a small part of you, and hopefully only a small part of your future. Peace, Andrew

#35030 - 01/14/03 11:09 AM Re: First Post: Breaking the Code
Muldoon Offline

Registered: 05/30/02
Posts: 1428
Loc: St Paul MN
Chris glad that you found this place.Even thou you had a therapist for 7 years you didn,t remember the SA so you couldn,t deal with the main issue in you life.
So much happened in your life at such a young age it will take lots of time to work out all the feeling.
Was your mother able to get her life together and did you have any contact with her as you grew up. There could be issues about not being there for your mother,not being able to help her.
It was evil what your stepmother did to you and as you said that will be the hardest to deal with.You need a good T that deals with male SA. victims,don't settle for just any T. Writing in my journal has also helped me a lot. Best of luck on your road to healing. Muldoon

Teach the Children to Never Hide in the Silence

#35031 - 01/14/03 12:35 PM Re: First Post: Breaking the Code
RJD Offline

Registered: 02/18/01
Posts: 326
Loc: jefferson City, Mo,usa
I welcome you too SFChris,
Breaking the code of secrecy opened the floodgates to a massive onslaught of shame
and verbal self abuse as well as acting out when I first began to open up and talk
about what happened. Sawing off tree lims with me on the outer tip was a big bad
habit of mine. By what you’ve said, you have been dealing with your childhood
experience for a while. I stopped therapy after 7 years also. It was a mutual
understanding with my therapist. Things seemed to be stalled. I joined a therapeutic
group for survivors of incest that was all women. At the time I was a freak of nature that
I had essentially the same issues as those women. It is only a women’s issue didn’t I
know? I was still acting out sexually. The effects of what happened to me were still
little understood. Freuds “hysteria” theory about imagined intrafamilial sexuality still
ruled in the seventies.

It was during the time, following the now 9 years of therapy that I inhaled the first books
on SA that were now beginning to surface in the early 80’s. Susan Forward came out
with the first book I ever saw that included male survivors. It included case studies of
real men entrapped in too unreal trauma. One of my responses was to become
terribly aroused sexually as I would read the stories. The shame I now carried was
even more overwhelming to the overwhelming shame I was already carrying. Then
somewhere down the road I read that this is not unusual for survivors to become
aroused when reading these case studies of true horror, because of our own
experience with sexual boundary violations and how the perpetrators used our own
bodily responses to entrap us. To read such studies restimulates my trauma and the
opressive overload of confusion soon follows. I was vulnerable as I learned well how
to take the blame for my bodily responses and I was now collecting more ‘proof’ of how
despicable I was.

During these “reading years” I came upon a book by a Jungian psychiatrist by the
name of Jean Shinoda Bolen titled, GODS IN EVERYMAN. She uses Greco-Roman
mythology and the very ”human” attributes of the gods to describe how those human pieces can fit together and tell a story and provide lessons for us. She speaks of these
gods as architypes much in the same way images of the Madonna and child can
represent unconditional love and nurturing (at least for some of us.) Hades is the
name of a god and also the name of a place. This is not in the same sense as the
christian hell. Hades is known as the shadow world. The god Hades ruled this world.
A place where we as survivors often become lost and unable to find our way out. She describes Hades the god as the architype for therapists. A therapist must be familiar with his or her own shadow world and be comfortable there and become familiar with how to leave the place and live in the light too. Because of those skills the therapist can act as a tourguide for both those of us who fear our shadow world so much that we cannot go there alone. Those of us who have gone there may become entrapped in it and struggle intil we become hopeless in our efforts to find our way out. Sometimes even a therapist can forget how to get out and needs a therapist’s therapist
to refocus their memory to the skills needed in order to see the way out.

The more we become familiar with the route in and out of Hades I think the less we
fear the journey because we know more about what to expect. The pain is still there.
Sometimes we need to revisit that shadow world to gain new insights that can help us
in our mastery in this place of, in Don_NY words, “terror,agony, and rage.”
I guess I’m with andrew and his suggestion for
therapy . Sorry it took so long to get back here
to this point, but it has been a long journey for
me too this morning.
anything that creatively express your feelings is
healing. Like Muldoon suggests journaling, some people write poetry, and some creat visual images
that say what words sometimes cannot express.

I also had questions similar to Muldoon's re you're "real" mother

#35032 - 01/14/03 07:39 PM Re: First Post: Breaking the Code
Enigma Offline

Registered: 01/07/03
Posts: 17
Loc: California
Andrew, Muldoon, RJD,

Thanks for the replies. First, I did re-enter therapy a year ago, after a two year break. The SA memories came out *after* I started therapy again.

I went back into therapy to work on intimacy issues and an interesting "ambivalence" on sexual preference, which in the SF Bay Area is usually greeted with a smile or a yawn, so I feel lucky about exploring that area.

About my mother, it's a pretty tragic story. She was more than adequate during my first five years; I have warm feelings for her. She started going downhill after the divorce, was addicted to sedatives routinely prescribed back then for post partem depression, needed her wine, G&Ts, cigs. In other words, she was a fairly typical divorced housewife of the sixties and early seventies.

So, I went from the frying pan into a toxic fire. Except I didn't jump. I was grabbed.

My mother had been fighting my father and stepmother for years. When I was six, she simply and sadly gave up. I saw her a few times when I was seven, but after that nothing until I was in college. When I did reconnect with her, I had no recognition of the broken, empty shell she had become.

Trust in women is a huge issue for me. (Duh!) I was betrayed by my mother. I also know part of me feels bad for betraying her when I succumbed to the advances of my stepmother. I also felt terribly betrayed when my stepmother left when I was 14. It's interesting (and frustrating) that what I fear/feared most is abandonment, even by my perpetrators. sigh.

I have been journalling a lot in the past year; it's helped me put at least certain pieces into a rational narrative.

I also recognize that over the past few years I have constructed a comfortable, but pretty emotionless waiting room. The door out of the room is labeled Pain, Rage, Terror, Abject Sadness. I have been through that door before and stumbled around blindly in the dark for awhile before crawling back into the waiting room exhausted, depressed, and confused.

I don't want to get stuck in the pain again. I do want to get through the pain to healing, cleansing, joy, happiness. I don't know whether I need to be pulled, pushed, nudged through this mess. RJD: Thanks for the suggestion on Bolen's book.

Anyone else have at least a partial map? Back of a napkin will do fine. SFChris

#35033 - 01/14/03 08:25 PM Re: First Post: Breaking the Code
Cement Offline

Registered: 06/05/02
Posts: 740
Loc: Southern California
I will give you my humble suggestions. I think that must have been inadvertent sarcasm, because I am, to my chagrin, not nearly as humble as I would like to be perceived. Get out your slide rule for that last sentence.

I think we have some similarities. I was molested by a stand-in mother figure ( my older sister) after my parents divorce. I longed to be loved and cared for so badly. I was a child! You were a child!! I still suffer from the echo of the desire to be loved like that, because to my then forming brain, that was the ultimate intimacy and love experience. Reframing that experience and learning appropriate intimacy takes time, and I am NOT patient.

My suggestion is to try to acknowledge the confusion, really acknowledge that it is impossible to go back in time and give that little boy the wisdom of a mature adult. You can, however, give him the benefit of your wisdom now. You can take care of him now. YOU, AT THIS AGE, ARE STRONG ENOUGH TO TAKE CARE OF THAT LITTLE BOY.
You are very bright and strong (can tell from the writing).

I know I am worried I will be seen as less than perfect, less than successful. Even in recovery, I want to know everything, have every piece of info at my fingertips, and incorporate it immediately.

I process the intellectual ideas quickly; learning the emotional part (or relearning the emotional part) takes so much longer. Frankly, steady, repetitive work on the emotional process, while staying away from easy, familiar (and dangerous) acting out behaviors is the bane of my recovery.

But, I think you actually asked for suggestions, not my personal theory of recovery. Journalling has been great for me. Therapy saved my life. I take meds, which help me with the anxiety component of my journey. I am blessed with a loving wife, but, as we all must, I have taken this journey alone. Be honest with yourself. Don't push farther than you can take. It will come.

My "signature" line at the bottom is the foundation of my experience. As frightening as it is to peer into that darkness (you called it "The door...labeled Pain, Rage, Terror, Abject Sadness"), and it is horrifying, it will never be as bad as your imagination has created it. Once I shone a light into the darkness, the monsters shrank, and I wasn't as afraid anymore.

And let the darkness fear our light.

#35034 - 01/16/03 12:22 AM Re: First Post: Breaking the Code
Enigma Offline

Registered: 01/07/03
Posts: 17
Loc: California
Cement, thanks. I know I'm on the right path; I'm pretty good at self care with exercize, meds, therapy.

I've kept it at a rational level in the past few weeks, I have started to disclose to selected non-family members. Kind of anti-climactic, I'm non-plussed right now.

Calm before the storm right now, I guess. Wish me luck!

#35035 - 01/16/03 10:59 PM Re: First Post: Breaking the Code
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
I find that the more I disclose the calmer it gets, and if someone does create a storm then that's their problem - not mine - and I move on, usually leaving them behind.


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

#35036 - 01/17/03 07:21 AM Re: First Post: Breaking the Code
OldTrafford Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/14/03
Posts: 9
Loc: wisconsin
How do you determine how much to share? I really struggle with sharing 'all or nothing'. I feel like I'm lying if I don't share, and I've scared away more than 1 close friend by sharing too much.

Thanks for any insight you can provide.

#35037 - 01/17/03 10:06 PM Re: First Post: Breaking the Code
Wuamei Offline

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
Old Trafford:

If you haven't already, you might want to check the thread of posts started by Al called "How Much Do You Tell?" While more about telling a mate, I'm sure a lot of it can be applied to telling friends and others as well.

Also, in the articles link off the MS homepage, there is an excellent article by Ken Singer on "Disclosure and Confrontation." Really good both on telling people about your SA, and also on confronting your perps about it.

Meanwhile, I'll just say that not telling everything is not lying, not even deceit or dishonesty or anything remotely similar, especially when it involves people who are in no way owed that information.

With something like SA especially, it is difficult
to try to tell in advance how anybody might respond to what you share. So share what you really need to share with whomever you really need to share it.

If you have a good T, he/she can be of help, both as someone to share it with, and to help you in how to share with others.

Take care


"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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