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#406622 - 08/13/12 02:57 AM Guilt ... Baggage (TRIGGER WARNING)
SkyLukewalker Offline

Registered: 08/13/12
Posts: 31
Loc: West Coast, US
Greetings - I've been lurking here for a while and wanted to join the group and share like so many here have shared with me. This is a long post and I'll put the 'Too Long / Didn't Read' version at the bottom:

I'm aware of being a survivor of sexual abuse but I have no specific knowledge of where or when. After years of acting out a therapist finally told me, "I know you don't remember being abused but you exhibit all the signs of a person who has been abused." I had to accept it and I've been learning a lot from the experiences of everyone here.

I'll say it in advance: my story is not typical for what I've read here. Most people start with their abuse and then talk about the mistakes they did because of it. Since I have no memory of what happened to me all I can do is talk about the things that I did, the overwhelming guilt I have because of them and the confusion and frustration I feel because after all this time, acting out sexually (although not with another person and certainly not with a child) through porn and specific role-play still turns me on like nothing else does. I have no idea what to do with any of this.

As I said - no knowledge of any abuse happening to me. Yet, I was compelled to do things. As a child, I acted out with other children in the neighborhood who were younger than me. That went on for a couple of years until I was caught and served a lenient sentence of probation and group therapy from age 13-15. I spent years seeing myself as a walking monster. Sometimes I wonder if any of you were the kids I hurt. I never hurt anyone ever again and made a promise to myself that I'd off myself before I'd hurt anyone ever again. I never have.

I didn't wake up acting out one day at 10 ... there were incidences leading up to that. When I was younger, 4 or 5, the older kids of the neighborhood led me into the bushes where we took turns showing each other ourselves, peeing - if there was any mutual masturbation I don't remember it. I remember how much it turned me on, though. We moved away from there and in our new neighborhood I would find semi-public places to strip off in. The act of getting naked in such a place always got me off in a way that nothing else did.

I started experimenting with getting other kids to do things with me. I talked a neighbor kid into going into a neighbors yard and defecating in public. In 2nd grade, I singled out a classmate, led him into the trees for many rounds of 'show me yours and I'll show you mine.' We did that until the end of 2nd grade - we never spoke of it again.

The guilt from what I did in 2nd grade made me too ashamed to ever do anything with someone for several years. In 5th grade, I was a poor, anti-social kid with a high IQ. I was the kid the teachers wrote "Not living up to potential" on every report card. My parents were broke, Mom and Dad were tense trying to find jobs, ways to save money and maintain their social standing within our religious community, I had few friends and fewer chances to play with them.

Out of all of that stress and depression, I started experiencing those former emotions and decided to act on them. They were a bright spot in among a lot of unhappiness. Even though they were wrong - they made me forget how unhappy I was for a while.

Oddly enough, though I had sexual thoughts I had no idea what masturbation or other sex-ed topics were. It wasn't until 7th grade - after I had been caught but before the court case - that I even knew how male/female intercourse worked.

Trigger Warning: I Need to Talk About This But If You Can't Handle Some Frank Recollections - Stop Here

My role play had a voyeuristic component to it. I wanted to get naked in front of other kids. I would suggest different things to do with other kids and was pleasantly surprised to find that they were open to doing them. I don't remember when the line was truly crossed, convincing several kids who were 3-4 years younger than I was, to do sexual things. I just remember that I started convincing them to show themselves to me and convincing them to participate as we took turns undressing each other. I had the guilt for a few days, but then the desire to do what we were doing would start again and I'd start working on when we could 'play.' That ended when school started in the fall for 6th grade.

I should mention here that I had been slowly edging my parents out of my life. I was handling trips to the principal's office without them knowing, minor school issues. They were still busy with their lousy jobs and climbing their social ladder and left me to my own devices. I don't want to say that they willingly checked out of my life but they were ignorant, overwhelmed and unaware of their own emotional baggage. It was a perfect storm of circumstances. I was disconnected from them - unhappy because I knew that what I was doing was wrong and yet I was powerless to deal with my emotions. After all, if Mom and Dad can't handle a D+ on your report card or a note from the teacher, how the heck are you supposed to give them this?

By 6th grade, I was dangerous. After vacation, I resumed and stepped up what I was doing with the kids. I won't go into detail but it involved touching, oral sex and many afternoons of misbehavior until one kid I'd recently groomed and began 'playing' with broke down to his Mom. My world had caved in.

I'll cut this short - the story of how I got caught and my later police report, trial and two years of group therapy and probation are a story in and of themselves. Their details aren't why I wrote this but wanted to give you some context for everything else I say.

I came out of that experience convinced of several things:

1) I was a monster.
2) My job was to never harm anyone ever again.
3) The rest of my life was meant to be spent to make up for the harm that I had caused, to my parents and the others.

I spent years determined to live non-sexually. I gave myself OCD making sure that I wasn't focusing on other males, on wrong thoughts. I didn't want to be gay but I didn't think I'd ever meet someone who could tolerate my past either. I started to build a life for myself as this boy scout-type with a bunch of rigid morality and almost no intimacy. Intimacy frightened me - it was better to be alone than to open the box where the bad stuff lived. My life was supposed to be about keeping that box shut, I thought.

When I was 21 - I met my wife. I told her about my past almost immediately, to the upset of my parents who never wanted to talk about it. 14 years later, we've been married for 12 years and have a wonderful 6-year old son that I love more than life itself.

But still - there's the acting out. It doesn't go away.

I want to stress that my acting out has nothing to do with my son. I love him, I would kill myself before harming him. I could never imagine letting him anywhere near this filth.

Acting out for me is about me finding semi-public, deserted places to strip off and masturbate. Or waiting until I'm alone to watch and masturbate to gay porn. When I do those things, I feel incredibly guilty - the guilt, self-loathing and depression can last for weeks. As much as I hate feeling guilty, it's always seemed to be the best defense for the gnawing desire to start doing things to trigger or get myself worked up to acting out again.

It's taken years and some therapy to understand everything that's going on. Thanks to therapy, medication and what I've read here on MS - I understand much better what I'm going through and why it's happening. I'm grateful to you for helping me to see that but I'm also seeing that I haven't reached the end of my road yet. Let me continue:

Even though I've been through the therapy and can see the acting out for what it is, I still have some things I'm trying to sort out. For instance, I trigger off of young guys who fit a specific profile (swimmer's build, confident, do or wear things that are stereotypically 'male' without any self-effacement or timidity). I've battled that triggering by working to make myself into what I trigger off of. I've been successful somewhat but I always feel like I'm playing with fire. Since I cannot make a pear-shaped 35-year-old into a ripped and cut 21-year-old, I'm often frustrated and depressed about it. There's more to say about that but this post is long enough (Please don't fall off into telling me that 'working out and eating right will make it better' - there's something deeper here that 16 years of working out hasn't uncovered).

Additionally, being a professional and a family man, I'm usually balancing the stresses of raising a family, running a business and other projects against my baggage. I often tell people that I'm like a rocket who 'gimbals' against all of these different forces to keep pushing forward. Or it feels like I'm treading water in the rapids - I'm trying to keep my head up while many different forces exert themselves on me - some of them I can control but many of them I cannot.

My goal is to meet my goals, turn my emotional baggage into something positive and not fall off into the hole of acting out. I've been successful, for the most part. When I'm not successful, the desire to act out starts in my head and it will start ratcheting up as the stress and other negative things in my life occur.

Successfully managing this has always been a struggle. My wife tries very hard to understand me and be sensitive to my needs - we've improved quite a bit in that area from 4 years ago. Still at the same time, this desire is there and I want to understand what this 'Perfect Guy' is supposed to have and why does acting out feel so horrible and so good at the same time?

I know I have more to say but this post is too long as it is and I'm exhausted. I'll add more to the story along with responding to what you say.

Too Long / Didn't Read: Still have lots of emotional baggage in my head - how can I even begin explaining this to people who aren't CSA survivors?

Edited by SkyLukewalker (08/13/12 04:11 AM)

#406625 - 08/13/12 03:36 AM Re: Long Time Listener-First Time Caller (Triggerish) [Re: SkyLukewalker]
Jim1104 Offline

Registered: 03/17/11
Posts: 410
Loc: Louisiana, USA
Well, you can start real slow and work up to it. In the meantime, toss out some of the baggage by unloading it here on us. I promise we are really good listeners and will definitely understand.

Love ya brother. Welcome home.

#406633 - 08/13/12 04:12 AM Re: Long Time Listener-First Time Caller (Triggerish) [Re: SkyLukewalker]
SkyLukewalker Offline

Registered: 08/13/12
Posts: 31
Loc: West Coast, US
Thank you - I appreciate that. I posted, then added A LOT more to this thread. I appreciate you getting back to me so quickly.

#406635 - 08/13/12 04:53 AM Re: Long Time Listener-First Time Caller (Triggerish) [Re: SkyLukewalker]
Letourski Offline

Registered: 03/16/08
Posts: 314
Loc: Canada
I can relate to many parts of your story. The shame of acting out, the constant need to be one of the ripped guys. I am not sure what a sexuality looks like, much less feels like. I have spent most of my life acting out with pornography and masturbation. I know for me, I have to stop acting out and get control of my behavior before I can claim my sexuality as my own.

But I am afraid of living life without acting out, because it's the only life I have ever known. What will emerge remains a mystery me, and that unknown scares the living hell out of me.

Heal well my friend. It takes great courage to post as honestly as you have. We are right here with you.
I am the warrior.

#406656 - 08/13/12 01:05 PM Re: Guilt ... Baggage (TRIGGER WARNING) [Re: SkyLukewalker]
SkyLukewalker Offline

Registered: 08/13/12
Posts: 31
Loc: West Coast, US
Had to cut it short to get some rest - I have a job interview today but will have to call off because I lost my voice over the weekend and I sound like either a Mafia don or Donald Duck. Neither of which go over well for a 2-hour in-person interview.

All of that context gets me to where I can finally confront the real questions I wanted to ask in the first place.

Upon looking at my story written out - I'm starting to wonder if I equate being naked and sexual with male acceptance since that was one of my first 'acting out' memories.

Does acting out ONLY mean that I'm trying to re-enact abuse?

#406662 - 08/13/12 02:51 PM Re: Guilt ... Baggage (TRIGGER WARNING) [Re: SkyLukewalker]
SkyLukewalker Offline

Registered: 08/13/12
Posts: 31
Loc: West Coast, US
Additionally, seeing the "Perfect Guy" somewhere - whether it's on the streets, on television (watching the Olympic divers was torture for me) or seeing a statue of a man - I'm instantly drawn to this male form. It's like it's saying "That's what a man looks like" and I instantly feel both ashamed and drawn to them because ... I don't look like that. I never have ... except for maybe a short period of time when I was working out and working on my feet for 6 hours a day when I was 18. Seems like a very small return on such a large investment.

Part of me idolizes persons like that. I remember feeling that way about other boys in my class as far back as kindergarten - the kids who could do things that I admired whether it was the kid with the piano lessons or the boy in 3rd grade who was an accomplished gymnast and threw backward flips around the playground or the kid in 4th grade who could kick a kickball into the stratosphere. There's been a mixture of admiration, idolization and sexualization that over time translated into whatever this attraction/shame is that I feel when I see the 'Perfect Guy' somewhere.

It's taking a lot out of me to unpack this - I'll post more later when I can. Thanks for reading.

#406663 - 08/13/12 02:53 PM Re: Guilt ... Baggage (TRIGGER WARNING) [Re: SkyLukewalker]
peroperic2009 Offline

Registered: 10/09/11
Posts: 3864
Loc: South-East Europe
Hi SkyLukewalker, welcome to Male survivor.
Wow what a powerful intro!
Part of your story is so familiar to me, expect I was one of younger boys that were involved into sexual games by couple of older boys.
I've never looked at those older boys as some "monsters", they were also kids and they needed some attention and care at that time. We were all kids without mature insight on things that were happening nor to possible consequences, it was sort of play for us. One part of me is angry to adults (my parents) and imposed too strict rules for us. That is one of the main reasons for my shame at that time. For me it was impossible to talk about that stuff with my parents, I knew that I would have some terrible consequences and I've been scared. I've tried but never felt sure enough to reveal my story and related problems to them, sex was taboo.
Now, many years after I have struggles with SSA (same sex attraction) and watching gay porn, but I'm in therapy and see huge progress with my life.
To make it short, in my case acting out trough watching gay porn means that I want to re-enact abuse and that some trauma is left unhealed. There is some specific reason and set of feelings that drive me to numbing and I'm learning how to cope whit it, how to see it coming and how to manage it. Because of early age when I was involved into all this, I guess that some scars left would be always present.
Please take your time, there are many similar stories here as well as articles. I'm sure you'll find your answer!
Keep sharing with us!

My story

#406666 - 08/13/12 03:09 PM Re: Guilt ... Baggage (TRIGGER WARNING) [Re: SkyLukewalker]

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 3852

What an honest and open introduction. Parts seem so familiar to me. I have learned the acting out was a way to recreate the abuse--through recreation the mind believes it can heal, but it has the opposite effect--the trauma remains and is left to fester and impact our lives. Through therapy you learn of the trauma and realize it is not always who you are when re creating the events of the abuse. I learned, the recreation is a way to connect to the abuser, who twisted our minds to believe we were special or loved.

You are facing your past and move at your own pace-


#406667 - 08/13/12 03:11 PM Re: Guilt ... Baggage (TRIGGER WARNING) [Re: SkyLukewalker]
Jude Offline

Registered: 08/09/12
Posts: 1633
Loc: New England
Thanks for your honesty. Be aware that some guys will have a problem with some of your back round because of their own trauma. You are still welcome here, without judgement.
I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories
Sarah McLachlan

#406668 - 08/13/12 03:37 PM Re: Guilt ... Baggage (TRIGGER WARNING) [Re: SkyLukewalker]
SamV Offline

Registered: 12/13/09
Posts: 5972
Loc: Sunnny, South East USA

It has been said in here that urge, that blood curdling sexual impulse to remember/reenact the "first act", that impossibly anomalous flu like rage that propels us, this poison, that it is a child's desire to be loved, to be in the arms of trust, to be accepted. This simple default possession of every other human and animal that have been in functional families, safe neighbors, other children, scout leaders, coaches and religious leaders.

When I was younger, 4 or 5, the older kids of the neighborhood led me into the bushes where we took turns showing each other ourselves, peeing - if there was any mutual masturbation I don't remember it. I remember how much it turned me on, though.
This is grooming, fellow survivor. It IS sexual abuse, the presenting or displaying of sexual material to a minor. In the acceptance, the friendship, the secrecy and communal group, you were loved, you joined, you were "within".

This is what you seek, the thrust of such loyalty, such inner joy and comfort. However, at your moment, and indeed many of your fellow survivors, when we would have such community that would pour over us such embrace, we were introduced, we were overwhelmed by the most powerful influence we could muster inside our bodies. This sexual power, associated with love, loyalty and grouping became almost indelibly fused. This is our abandon, our destruction, our rejection, but again, this is NOT OURS. It is the behavior that we copy over and over in our lives trying to find that connection.

Alas fellow survivor, it is not to be. Nothing, save porn OR offending survivors OR perpetrators( the commonality is in the assumption of the act of grooming, nothing more in this context) can again drown us in that groomed "love", acceptance and intimacy.

We desperately need to detach ourselves from that grooming, that lesson, the control of which destroys us. That is what we do here, male survivor, in MaleSurvivor. We learn to love in terms of respect, of admiration of human will and inalienable right, in mutual equality. We attempt to construct our interrupted selves from the grooming, from the abuse, for we will never have what was lost to us. But we WILL unlearn, with setbacks. We WILL begin anew, with frailty. Then we will be victorious. The hope of freedom, the courage and strength we get from conviction of doing what we internally agree on, what is right and good to us, that solidity is ours.
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