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#416655 - 11/20/12 01:52 AM Revealing Past Abuse and Getting Over It
charlesxy Offline

Registered: 06/10/12
Posts: 32
I have an ethical dilemma I am currently facing regarding my past and my family.

My dilemma is as follows:

I am a male in his 30s who was sexually abused as a young child by a neighbor and friend of my mother's. I never told my parents. In fact, I never told anyone except a close friend. My father is now very old and not in the best of health. I am concerned that he will die before I have the chance to tell him. I am also considering getting married and possibly having children. However, my past gives me anxiety about having children. I have not told my girlfriend and I feel it may only be fair to tell her as well, but perhaps only after I tell my parents.

I feel as though the truth needs to be told. I also would like to know why my mother trusted this family in this first place and how many times I was left alone with them. While I do remember being abused and that it happened more than once, I am unable to recall the exact year or number of occurrences. I also do not remember the last name of the family. Part of me wants to locate the abuser in the event that he may be working around children. I know that legally I have no recourse for my own case because of the time that has passed, but maybe I can help prevent future abuse.

Perhaps I am being selfish since telling my parents will undoubtedly hurt them because they may feel they were negligent in their care of me. I am also concerned that they may not believe me. Although they were at times differences between us, I never doubted my parents' love for me.

Is it best to continue to keep this dark secret to myself (and possibly a future spouse), and therefore not hurt my parents and damage my relationship with them? Or, is it better that the truth be revealed?

Secondly, do people really get over this? Of this something that must be dealt with for eternity like some incurable disease?
Thank you.

#416667 - 11/20/12 04:33 AM Re: Revealing Past Abuse and Getting Over It [Re: charlesxy]
Candu Offline

Registered: 07/01/12
Posts: 312
Loc: Canada
My mother is in her 80's and while she seems to be doing fine for her age she is not in the best of health and I feel that knowing about my CSA would be too hard for her. Someone else with a different mother could decide that it is better to tell her and I would not say they were wrong. Each person has their own situation and perspective and must make up their own decision.

Do people get over this? Yes they do. But it will always be a part of you. Hopefully a small part without shame or pain.

Should you keep this from a spouse? I think in most cases you need to tell them. If you plan to make that kind of commitment then you should have enough trust in them to know.

Your past should not determine your choice to have children. If you and your spouse want children then you should have children. If you have difficulty with the your past (and I expect the answer to be yes) and you feel it would hold you back then I would think getting some professional help about it would be a good idea. If you haven't then you should.

One added note. I wish I could have dealt with this when I was your age. I have lost so much and will not have the opportunities that you still have.

Edited by Candu (11/20/12 04:37 AM)
Edit Reason: added note

#416668 - 11/20/12 04:42 AM Re: Revealing Past Abuse and Getting Over It [Re: charlesxy]
Chase Eric Offline

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 2973
Hi, Charles -

I just made a reply to another post and think you should read it, because our situations sound eerily similar in some ways.

You can decide, after reading that, if it had anything to do with being selfish. I don't think so - I think it had everything to do with busting down a wall of secrets I kept at the behest of my molester.

Two truths for me, Charles:
...1) Every secret I keep today is a secret my molester still hopes that I keep.
...2) Every secret I keep puts a huge space bar between me and the people I love - precisely what my molester needed me to do in order to continue his carnal access to me.

My secrets only served to protect him and did nothing for me. My secrets ensured I remained a victim and he relished that I kept them for him. My secrets were damaging to me then - and damaging to me now.

We are not children any more. We don't have to keep those secrets. The Sandusky trial taught me the power of breaking our abuser's secrets. I wish I had that chance...

If I never confronted my mom, I never would have given her a chance to explain what I apparently did not understand. Maybe that is true in your case. Maybe by telling her, you'll get some answers you aren't expecting - as happened with me. Maybe you'll get an apology. And maybe you'll have an opportunity to forgive - something I suspect you cannot do now. In that sense, telling her is not selfish but rather the deepest gift: truth.

Don't keep the "dark secret." That is the very thing that - for me at least - is most damaging about CSA. The secrets are the only tools we had in our limited arsenal as children to navigate a confusing situation. Breaking that cycle is what recovery to me is all about.

Do people get over this? I took a course called Death and Dying - all the Kubler-Ross studies, yada yada - but the one thing I took away from it was that one NEVER recovers from the loss of a loved one. You can adapt, you can find happiness again, be functional again, you can even try with some success to "forget" - but you never get over it. We mourn our childhoods and the people we may have become had we not dealt with being victimized. To me it's like a death - an abortion - a part of my soul that just stopped growing and I'll never know the man I would have become had I not fallen into the hands of my abuser. I have no allusions about getting over it. It's a part of my past, a part of me. For too long I stuffed it, tried to forget about it and thought I DID get over it. But that's just another lie.

Instead of getting over it, I learned to accept it - and in so doing I learned to accept myself, stop hiding, stop the secrets. It has made all the difference in the world.

I hope for you the best, whatever you decide.

#416699 - 11/20/12 04:16 PM Re: Revealing Past Abuse and Getting Over It [Re: charlesxy]
sailfish Offline

Registered: 10/20/12
Posts: 10
Loc: Virginia
I am struggling with the idea of telling my mother. My therapist says he doesn't see what good may come from it but I disagree. My brother was involved and I've struggled in virtually every aspect of life. I feel that it would help her understand the things that shaped me

#416739 - 11/21/12 01:00 AM Re: Revealing Past Abuse and Getting Over It [Re: charlesxy]
charlesxy Offline

Registered: 06/10/12
Posts: 32
Thank you, all. I really appreciate the thoughtful responses.


If I may ask, does your therapist think it is not a good idea to your mom because the abuse involved your brother?

I am sorry you and all the others he had to go through this pain.

#416741 - 11/21/12 01:11 AM Re: Revealing Past Abuse and Getting Over It [Re: charlesxy]
Suwanee Offline
Chat Moderator

Registered: 10/30/12
Posts: 1345
I have only told my wife and my therapist; I'm not prepared to tell my parents at this point. My parents are in their 60s and nearing retirement. My dad went through what I call the "Cats in the Cradle" syndrome a while back---meaning that he is carrying a lot of regret for being away so much during my childhood. He was forever flying here and there to close the deal anywhere from Turkey to Tokyo. He was a great provider, but he missed ball games and swim meets. I thought it was cool having a dad who brought me neat stuff from around the world---but he became miserable later on, so I had to assure him I was fine.

If I revealed the CSA, he'd kick himself for being away and "letting it happen." Maybe when we are both in a better state of mind, I'll let him know.

Those who have read some of my posts know I like to write-it makes me feel better even if I have to go through the fire to get there sometimes. I have written several letters to my abuser that I have no intentions of mailing. I'm doing the same in a letter to my mom and dad. I hate to tell them, but there is a need to. The letters never meant to send are a good surrogate for now.

I've got this life
And the will to show
I will always be
Better than before

#416775 - 11/21/12 06:47 AM Re: Revealing Past Abuse and Getting Over It [Re: Suwanee]
SoccerStar Offline

Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 929
I already know how both of my parents would react when / if I told them. My father would give me comfort and reassurance and love that I desperately need from him specifically about this issue specifically. My mother would die inside, judge herself a failed parent, and never be able to look at me again without crying.

The longer you go without telling, the older you get and the more you empathize with your parents' needs and their lives. What I see - universally - in this thread and the "20 years too late" thread are people who really want to tell their loved ones but are holding back for fear of scaring them or making them feel like failures. It's good to see so many people grow to adulthood with such selflessness and empathy, but these things can be taken way too far and it can't be a coincidence that it's all tied up with all the usual CSA self-hollowing self-cannibalizing bullshit.

If you have good enough parents that telling them would make you feel better - would give you comfort - then don't you think they'd be upset to hear of you taking more pain onto yourself for the purpose of sparing them? Isn't that the OPPOSITE of the good parenting that is precisely what you value from them and why you want to tell in the first place?

It may well make my mom die inside but she spent so many years saying she'd give up her life for her kids, like any good parent would, that there's only so much I can try to protect her before you reach the point that in trying to protect her *I am failing her by not allowing her to protect me - by causing myself to suffer when that is the exact opposite of a good parent's purpose in life*.

Spouses are different. You kind of have to tell them - though the average I've seen on this site has been that most guys waited until ~7 years after marriage; some more than 30 years after. If you have any symptoms whatsoever (exaggerated startle, night terrors, etc) it will be noticed whatever you do.

As for "getting over it".... I *was* over it. For 26 years it seriously never bothered me and I had a good life. 2012 ruined everything. Fucking Mayans.
My story

"Don't think it hasn't been a little slice of Heaven just because it hasn't!" --Bugs Bunny

#416776 - 11/21/12 06:59 AM Re: Revealing Past Abuse and Getting Over It [Re: SoccerStar]
crazy gecko Offline

Registered: 10/04/12
Posts: 309
Originally Posted By: SoccerStar
As for "getting over it".... I *was* over it. For 26 years it seriously never bothered me and I had a good life. 2012 ruined everything. Fucking Mayans.

Yep, I was also "over it". I was happy for many years. And then my life just started falling apart. My wife died, then I had to get major surgery (which turned out to be a bigger trigger than I expected) then a new relationship with all the stress that brings... yeah. I'm not longer sure that "over it" even exists crazy
I guess what I'm trying to say
Is whose life is it anyway because livin'
Living is the best revenge
You can play
-- Def Leppard

My Story, Part 2

My blog

#416841 - 11/21/12 10:32 PM Re: Revealing Past Abuse and Getting Over It [Re: charlesxy]
charlesxy Offline

Registered: 06/10/12
Posts: 32
Yes, I agree that with spouses it's a no-brainer. In fact, when I was much younger I promised myself that I would tell no one except my wife. However, I never married.

And now, my dad is well in the twilight of his life, and if there is one parent who would believe me over another, it would be him (although I can't say for 100%).

The other element of this story is that my girlfriend wants to know where our relationship is going, and I feel this loose end in my life needs to be tied up before I can share my life with someone else.

Does anyone think it may be better to tell my gf first? She may help me with my decision of whether or not to tell my parents.

However, if she is repulsed by my story (she may be not want to continue a relationship or risk having children with someone who has these issues) and ends the relationship, then I would have told one more person than necessary.

She wants to have kids and trusts her best friend and her husband to take care of any kids she may have. However, my experience has left me so paranoid that I would not trust anyone with kids, especially a male, except for my parents any future wife's parents.

Do the survivors here who have children ever leave their children in the care of others?

Thank you all for reading and providing insight.

If nothing else, this forum is very helpful in conveying my thoughts about an issue I dare not speak about out loud.

#416849 - 11/21/12 11:54 PM . [Re: charlesxy]
ALovingMum Offline

Registered: 02/25/12
Posts: 51

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