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#424431 - 02/06/13 12:14 AM My childhood according to photos...
CloudyFalls Offline

Registered: 07/19/12
Posts: 173
Loc: Ohio
I'm so extremely torn and confused. I now remember my childhood with much more detail. I went through hundreds of family photos with me in them.

First thing that comes to mind is how perfect children are, I see myself as a kid and I look so happy, so innocent, and so loving. If I ever were perfect it was when I was a kid. I know none of what happened was my fault, but it has me questioning many things about my past.

I'm almost certain my abuser was abused probably at the same age I was (I'm imagining he was abused when he was 5). From the dates on the pictures the earliest confirmed memories I have of being "friends" with my cousin Curtis is 1999. That means the abuse actually started right after I turned 6 and that would've meant my cousin was 8 at the time. (and lasted 13 years, rather than the initial 12 I thought)

How can I blame my cousin for experimenting or doing what he thought was normal to me? But before there was me there was my cousin Ryan. I'm almost certain he started out abusing Ryan, but for whatever reason turned to me when I was 6. Me and him just clicked, idk if he was just doing it to get me under his control or what, I believe it was a mixture of things. I do believe there was a genuineness in our friendship and how it started. We both were into the same things, we were both gay. Curtis told me I was why he survived his life, and maybe that's true. It doesn't change the fact that I was sexually abused, but I'm fessing up, almost half of it was consensual. Curtis's homelife was horrible, I have reason to believe he was being raped and beaten by my uncle, his step-father. His mother was a hot-head and verbally abusive. You see, in all truth, I think I was his escape rather than his fix. And in a way, he was my escape. We intertwined ourselves into such a co-existent relationship that we needed each other. It was unhealthy no doubt, but from the eyes in the child I saw in my photos, I remember what it felt like with him. It was golden. When I throw out all of my adult thoughts and everything I've learned and I focus just on that child and his emotions, Curtis made my life worth living, he made my childhood golden.

I think what happened was a sexually co-abusive relationship. (Meaning, it hurt both of us, it was a double edged sword) There was only 2.5 years age difference, and neither of us knew the repercussions of our actions, yet I understand Curtis knew how to persuade and manipulate me with his experience. His actions were selfish and wrong, while I was innocent. Yet he was taught the abusive nature of life, and probably just thought it was normal. He never ever emotionally or physically abused me, and outside of sex, I have no regrets. We were best friends.

I don't know what to do guys, I am a loving open minded individual, maybe I'm naive but I know I am intelligent. I want to trust my instinct on this and say he never meant to hurt me. As he told me himself, but 13 years and over 1000 sexual acts, I don't know if I can go back to being his friend and not feel sexual towards him. Sex with him is like breathing. And if I were with him and not having sex it wouldn't feel right. It's almost like it's impossible to be in his life without it hurting both of us. Yet in my mind, we needed each other. We have this bond, I've never seen or heard of before, and to deny it idk how to describe it.

Every professional and all the books tell me I'm the innocent one and I was abused, it gives me black and white. And besides that, most of the research is on Adults sexually abusing children, not child abusing child. So what the fuck do I do? Am I under an illusion again? I highly doubt it this time, seeing the pictures, remembering everything, and trusting my cousins words and actions would indicate he made a mistake, but did in fact love me.

I was in love with my cousin, more in love than love though. It is like he was a part of me, like our souls intertwined and we needed each other. And without him I suffer, and if I am near him we begin to merge again. Unlearning and unfeeling 13 years seems impossible. Hell, I still love my ex and we only were in a relationship for 3 weeks!

When I think about how my ex was abused as a kid, I now can see my cousin the same way. I'd wish it on nobody. It messes you up. And really if I think about it, I was raped by my cousin's rapist. (metaphorically, and maybe even literally, but I don't remember)

I'm so confused. But what my heart is telling me is to go to my cousin, stay loyal to my friend, and talk to him about the abuse along with what happened to him. But how can I know if I'm in an illusional state of mind?

Seeing my pictures as a kid, I know I'll never be anywhere near as perfect as I was again. It feels like I felt the best there is to feel so nothing else can measure up. Tell me, how can "abuse" be such a golden memory yet cause so much pain? I don't understand.

The bottom line is, my cousin could be suffering just as much as I am right now. And if that's the case, we're equally hurt by our relationship. There is no revenge, there is no resent, there is only pain to be endured.

But to keep this all in perspective, I'll never know unless I talk to him myself. Should I trust my instinct and go for it, or should I listen to professionals who did not experience my life.

And even knowing all this will not solve my problems, I still deal with the effects of abuse. I have a whole shit load of stuff to deal with beyond even this. I've never felt more overwhelmed throughout my whole recovery till now. And the perfectionist within me screams with disdain. Because I know I'll never solve all of my problems in just "the right way". As a metaphor, I can't take a college course in recovery and get all As, there's simply no grading system.


I can't hope to explain myself, and yet I yearn to be understood. I want to write a mountain of words but fear they'll fall to def ears or blind eyes.

Here's a pic of me and my cousin. Look at that child, can you tell me he's a monster? (I'm on the far left, he's on the right next to me, the adult is my aunt Cil, and left of her is her daughter, my cousin Kristen, the birthday girl.)

And some more:

If you're curious who Ryan is, he's in the second picture from the top on the far left.

Edited by CloudyFalls (02/06/13 06:41 PM)
"The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it." - Albert Einstein

#424454 - 02/06/13 03:01 AM Re: My childhood according to photos... [Re: CloudyFalls]
cosmos Offline

Registered: 11/12/12
Posts: 191
Loc: Puget Sound
Kids that age are perfect, but notice who isnít showing their face, not your cousin I wonder why?

"it has never yet been discovered how to make man unknow his knowledge, or unthink his thoughts"

T. Paine

#424478 - 02/06/13 07:43 AM Re: My childhood according to photos... [Re: CloudyFalls]
crazy gecko Offline

Registered: 10/04/12
Posts: 309
I keep coming back and looking at you in that picture - you have the eyes of an abused child - expressionless, guarded...
Your cousin, however, looks like a normal, happy child.

I don't know if I'm reading to much into what is, after all, only a single moment that was captured, but still - I picked you out of the photo before I read the description of who is who...
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

#424485 - 02/06/13 08:18 AM Re: My childhood according to photos... [Re: CloudyFalls]
SoccerStar Offline

Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 929
Your cousin looks about 8-9 in that picture, yes?

So that would put this within the years when he would tackle you, wrestle you into submission, blackmail you, wake you up with him sitting on your chest or face, and asphyxiate you into submission, in order to have sex with you.... right?

But a few years still until the point where he turned you into "a button he could push" for solely him-oriented sex on demand, and when on at least one occasion did something that you yourself distinctly characterize as rape..... right?

Just wanted to make sure I got which phase of the "co-abusive relationship" I was looking at.

Rule of thumb - don't second-guess yourself. It was true on the SATs and elsewhere in life as well.
My story

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

#424490 - 02/06/13 11:58 AM Re: My childhood according to photos... [Re: CloudyFalls]
Jude Offline

Registered: 08/09/12
Posts: 1633
Loc: New England
Its not that unusual to have ambivalent feelings toward your abuser. The sexual and emotional bonds can be huge and hard to differentiate from the fact that you were led/forced into a sexual relationship before you were ready, by someone older and more powerful.

I find ambivalence hard to deal with. I prefer everything to be black or white. So I don't have a good suggestion on how to deal with this. But at least know that you are not alone in this and your feelings are "normal" for one of us.

I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories
Sarah McLachlan

#424512 - 02/06/13 06:39 PM Re: My childhood according to photos... [Re: crazy gecko]
CloudyFalls Offline

Registered: 07/19/12
Posts: 173
Loc: Ohio
Originally Posted By: crazy gecko
I keep coming back and looking at you in that picture - you have the eyes of an abused child - expressionless, guarded...
Your cousin, however, looks like a normal, happy child.

I don't know if I'm reading to much into what is, after all, only a single moment that was captured, but still - I picked you out of the photo before I read the description of who is who...

In that photo we were being silly, notice we're both the only kids wearing the birthday hats wrong? I was always silly. You just couldn't see my smile underneath the hat. I may have looked sad though because I hated that apartment (it was where his uncle lived and I was scared of his uncle).

I have plenty of pictures with him where I'm plenty happy, smiling wide showing my teeth, bright eyed and everything. Here's a few (Click zoom to see them at full size):


In response to a PM from a friend, I think I need to post this publicly for all to see, I'm changing it a bit but for the guy that PMed me, I hope this is an adequate reply.


I don't hate myself, and my abuser was not much older than me, he was a child too. My heart has told me I was wrong since I began this recovery, my story does not fit anyone else's, mine's different. I never said sex was okay, I and if you say no child can consent to sex, then what was my cousin, a child doing with me? What he did was wrong, but he was taught it. It should've been stopped but it wasn't, we both knew it was wrong.

I had consensual (or whatever you want to call it) sex when I was 3 with another 3 year old, that's how young I started stuff like that, to me it was just like that. I know the difference between doctor and experimenting, because I played doctor with my cousin Brittney (changed name to keep anonymous), and it was never sexually stimulating, it was more curiosity. With my 3 year old friend Zachary we were both gay, we sucked each other off, all kinds of things and we liked it. I don't know the answers, and I'm not saying it was right, but how can you call someone a monster if they're ignorant to how they're actions affect someone else?

My heart and my head have told me enough, I know what I must do. Nobody else will understand me, because people paint life in black and white. The thing I realized is we're the same as we always were, the only thing that changes is how we view things. I'm still that child, and what was innocent then was turned corrupt by the people who taught me it was heinous. I have the intelligence to know it was wrong and hurtful now, but I didn't then, so how can I judge a kid to act like an adult. I'd be holding my cousin Curtis with the same contempt I held my child self. I can't expect Curtis to have been an adult when he was 8, and I can't have expected for me to react like an adult when I was 6.

I was sexually abused by a child. He grew into adolescence and never stopped, for the same reason I never stopped or survivors could'nt end their abuse, because it was engrained in us. His abusive behavior and my submission was solidified. And I already confessed, it was probably 50% abuse 50% consensual (innocent playing around) Now even if it was consensual I know it was wrong for a child to be doing adult things, and that's why it's still wrong. I know that, I'm not stupid, I'm not naive. Me and my cousin are hurting right now, I'm willing to bet a million bucks on that. And if I leave him, it would be selfish to place all the blame on an innocent mistake. Because when a child abused a child it's a mistake, when an adult abuses a child it's a crime, it's a sin, it's whatever you want to call it. I'm sick of it, I'm sick of hearing people call Curtis a monster, I'm sick of having to call him a monster, I'm sick of this pretending, it's wrong as well. He needs help just like any other child does. I knew my cousin for my whole life and we were inseparable for 13 years, I know enough to know who he is, I know more than anyone who he really is. He had nobody but me, and I had nobody but him. What happened was the faults of our parents and those who were supposed to protect us. I'm listening to my heart now. And if I'm wrong, I'm willing to pay. But I'll never stand idly by and let someone I loved suffer.

If you were abused by an adult, it was a heinous crime by a fully knowledgeable adult who was supposed to protect you. I wasn't, but I understand I still have the same symptoms, the same issues to deal with, but what's different for me is that my abuser will struggle them too. That's why I called it co-abusive. We both deal with the pain, maybe one more than the other, but neither wished it on each other. I'm not disillusioned, I see clearly, and I believe in me now. I stand strong, and I know what I stand for. I'm taking a leap of faith.

The only reason I'd hate myself now is if I left my cousin to rot for a mistake he made as a kid. What the books I read, what my therapist tells me, and even what this website writes teach me that I can't blame myself for what I did as a kid, wouldn't it be hypocritical to judge Curtis the same way?

I know who I am and what I stand for, I will not stand by and be some Pontious Pilate and wash my hands or turn the other cheek, I confront my problems, I confront reality, and I stand strong for myself. I'm not submitting to overindulgent self reclamation or compensation, I know who I am, I am honest and I am real. That's why started this journey at 19, because I am who I am. I am strong, I am courageous, I am intelligent, I am open, and I believe in what is right and just.

As Albert Einstien said: "The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who donít do anything about it."

I must confront my cousin Curtis, I must not hide in fear of the loss of an illusion, I must face reality. And there is only one outcome of this confrontation, and that is to see reality for what it is. From then on, my choices will change both our paths in life. However my indifference and self-pity could put both of us at risk for the rest of our lives.

Edited by CloudyFalls (02/06/13 07:41 PM)
"The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it." - Albert Einstein

#424725 - 02/08/13 10:31 PM Re: My childhood according to photos... [Re: CloudyFalls]
pufferfish Offline

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6875
Loc: USA
I found a photo in facebook that appears to be me at age 12.

If so, I'm the boy waiting in line at the ice cream truck. In the background are 2 brick houses. They look like houses from the street where we lived. My house would be the one showing only a corner on the right side of the picture. The trees and everything look right to be right. Those are the type of clothes I wore then.

This is the photo taken 2 weeks after torture/abuse. In the background is possibly a house shown in the ice cream truck photo.


Edited by pufferfish (02/11/13 08:29 PM)

#424736 - 02/09/13 12:56 AM Re: My childhood according to photos... [Re: CloudyFalls]
traveler Offline

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 4284
Loc: resettling in NE Ohio
Puffer -

how freaky to see yourself in an anonymous "vintage" photo. makes you wonder what else is out there on all of us.

i once found a yearbook photo of mine online and some present day twerp was mocking the cool fashions i was wearing that were the height of style at the time. i felt the same sting from the mockery - decades later - as i used to get in middle school when being taunted. no wonder i always hated having my photo taken.

How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, ‚ÄúViolence!‚ÄĚ but you do not save?
Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?...
Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails....
Habakkuk 1:2-3


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