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#43638 - 05/08/05 09:02 PM Thread for kids
DannyT Offline

Registered: 09/14/03
Posts: 645
Dear Charlie and Kev,

I'm writing this note to you guys because it was your brief conversation after one of Kev's journals that started this idea, but it's really for all you of guys who are still kids and might have questions that youíd like answers to. Since you said you've found it hard to be heard and have your concerns adressed, it seemed a good idea to start a thread that might begin to serve as a forum.

I'm not a therapist, just another guy who's been through abuse, but just having been there means having lots of ideas about healing. I hope this could be a good place for questions and answers for everybody. We're most of us still kids in some ways (I'm thinking of the teddy bear posts from awhile ago ;\) )

The following things are responses to points Kev and Charlie made recently (though I'm sure i added things of my own \:\) ).

1. Itís an adultsí world. I donít believe that. The world isnít a generality. Itís specific. Each of us has his own little world, and we control a lot of it by respecting ourselves. When you speak of the world this way, it reminds me of my feelings of out of controlness and victimization. Those feelings were true responses to pain, but they are also filled with self-lies about myself. That my world isnít mine, or more precisely, that my world was taken away from me. That I am the problem, that I am the cause and am to blame somehow. None of that is true. I am a person who was hurt. The hurt doesnít have to be forever. I am not responsible for the hurt. I am not to blame. MY WORLD BELONGS TO ME.

2. These fears speak to something else I wish I had heard, so Iíll tell it to you. Itís true what Iím going to say. Even though I felt out of control, that sense of powerlessness is just a symptom. Itís not a fact.

3. To break the sense of powerlessness, speak out, just like you guys are doing here. And if any guy tries to hurt you again, SCREAM and YELL. How I wish I had done that. Just make a noise. I canít tell you how happy I am you are here with us and talking so early. The talking makes a huge difference. This talking I'm talking about isn't "disclosing" (I hate that word). It's just normal talk. Normal yelling. You've been hurt...that usually leads some noise (in comix it's ARGHH!) and to a story that gets told (to friends, not necessarily the police...)

4. Some of my sense of powerlessness came from shame. The shame was another symptom: THE SHAME HAS NO BASIS IN REALITY. I did nothing wrong. You have been stung by a bee and need a bandaid. I donít mean to belittle the size of the beeÖ.these are huge sores, but they are accidents and the abuser is nothing more than a giant insect. In my mind I'm seeing a giant hideously hairy spider oozing noxious gases and venom.

5. There was no reason for him to pick me. I was irrelevant. The abuse was someone elseís disease. THE ABUSE WAS NOT ABOUT ME. My dad was sick. It wasnít my problem. Remember that every day.

6. Because the abuse never reflects on me, I AM NOT THE PROBLEM. Therefore worries like Kev has about ruining things for his family are more symptoms rather than truths about his situation. I feel scarred and ugly and weak and ashamed and freaked out and horrified and horrible. BUT I ONLY FEEL LIKE THAT BECAUSE I HAVE BEEN SMEARED WITH SHIT AND NEED A GOOD BATH. Weíve all been sprayed by a huge skunk and need to clean off the goo. All the bad feelings are little more than nasty goo. They are not part of you. They are an infection from outside.

7. The reason there are so few books for kids is not because people donít care. People are only really capable of writing for themselves. As much as I want to write for you, I canít. I could meditate and call my younger self and ask him to do it, though. When I do, he immediately saysÖjust ask the right questions. Listen to the answer, but ask and judge for yourself. Take what you need and let the rest go. This is a game, and we can make up all the rules.

Kids are the most afraid to speak, so little gets said. Youíre talking here has begun at least a threadÖbut more could be done. As I said, people can only really write about themselves. So maybe you should write the book yourself. When you go to your T take notes and write. Keep track of your questions and the answers. Youíre an excellent writer, Kev, and writing a book about your abuse can heal you like nothing else can. I did it. And it made me cry buckets of tears, but it washed me pretty clean.

Thinking that not hearing your voice represented makes you nothing is somehow terribly true. Weíve all of us been silenced. Thatís the first terrible step. So in order to hear yourself or see yourself represented, you have to shout. Even a support site for men has taken years to come into being: and thatís only the first step. One of the things I've had to learn about abuse is that no one can do the healing for someone else, and that every generalization is a lie. All those guys with wives and kids and nine to five jobs are as foreign to me as they are to you...that's not the path I've taken, so it's basically meaningless to me. That's why it's so important to value yourself and trust your inner worth. That trust gives you the judgement you need.

8. Another thing about ďonly for men/adults.Ē I think youíll find a lot of us are still really kids. Not grown up except in age. I can remember my abuse like it was yesterday. I can certainly go back to that time to talk about it if you want.

9. Kev says his life is fucked up. Your life is not fucked up. You have been through a trauma and are shaky. That can and will pass. Remember the bug bite analogy. I think itís a good one. Our pain should heal and turn into a little scar. The awesomest thing about you talking now is that you can really heal it early before the wound gets big. Many of us have had bites that festered and became massively infected. Youíre cleaning out the wound in every journal you write and in every discussion you have.

10. Hereís an important one, Iím quoting Kev: ďonly 4% of ALL parents disbelieved their kid. This is like thunder Ė its the most important thing in the world!!!!!!!!!!!Ē Whatís so important about this one to me is your shock. Of course they believed you. They love you because you deserve love. That fear of disbelief is another symptom. Itís groundless. I remember it. It kept me quiet. You spoke. Fantastic.

11. This leads me to the most important thing: the patterns of bad thought are the killer. The abuse is nothing relative to what you tell yourself over and over and to what you allow yourself to believe. Life is pattern and habit. Habits of mind are more deadly and addictive than heroin. The absolutely best thing I can recommend for you and all the kids is a course in deep Zen meditation that allows you to be internally quiet so you can see yourself again. The Three Pillars of Zen has great ideas in it. For me the best thing has been to remember who I was before the abuse (very close in time for you guys) and to rebuild the patterns of mind I had then. Very much like setting a broken bone, I reset my thinking. I wrote some posts about this a while ago (basic meditation instructionsÖI teach meditation as part of my job).

12. Disclosure. You donít have to tell everyone or disclose publicly. Your choice. I never didÖ.turning it into a public crime scared me and seemed wrong (it was my dad and he was mentally ill). But allowing the abuse to be discussed in your everyday life heals. Again, the physical analogy is right. Youíve been injured. Who would you tell if you broke a bone? Let those people know. HAve the normal conversations you would have. You are just as blameless as in the bone breaking analogy, so only your false fear (remember itís a symptom not a reflection of real danger) is holding you. The shudders we get in thinking about abuse are wrong. Itís close to you. Let it out as part of the daily story. If you have friends, Iíd tell them. I canít tell you the relief I would have felt if I had gone to school the next day and told my best friend what had happened. Thinking of it this way also relieves the pressure of fear of someone blowing it off. If enough people talk the story grows and no one can blow it off anymore. For me, I donít care about sending people to jail, I care about open discussion. If we all talked nice and loud, even the abusers would start to get help and the social pattern would start to fade. Your friends will not disbelieve you. They will generally support you. Some of my friends have been uneasy about the subject. But Iím very casual about it, and I only talk if the subject comes up. You are near to the time of abuse, so itís a story that naturally wants to emerge. Back in the day I was holding my tongue, and that was wrong. I should have told my friends. I would have protected them. (One of my friends ended up being abused by another of my abusers).

13. You are not alone. We have all walked down the road you are traveling.

14. I couldnít care less about ďdisclosingĒ either. I only care about being able to talk freely about my life. You have that right and shouldnít be afraid. People care about you and actually many of them will want to know whatís up. When we freak out we begin to leave people behind. Thatís cruel. Keeping our friends out in the cold about our lives denies our love for each other. In the end it closes us up and makes us lonely. No point in that. Abuse is just another hurt. Not a curse or a shameful hiding thing. When I told the story the first time, I was not only amazed that my friend believed me, but that he was so angryÖhe really cared.

15. This is for Charlie: Itís not wrong to say you remember or to tell it the way you know it now when itís so fresh. Please do! I canít tell you how it would help to see that truth in the open. I tried to do it in a story, but Iím an adult with an adultís words. Part of the healing is being with others. We adults can offer you many things, you kids offer something amazing back: together we are a full perspective on the story. Hearing your words never makes me feel guilty or helpless. Iím not your keeper. Iím just another guy living his life. Thereís no real difference between kids and adultsÖonly superficial things. Inside Iím still the same person. I still love the same things and want the same things. Like I said earlier, itís the patterns of thought that really make the difference. If you buy into your fears you shape yourself one way. If you let them go, another side of yourself emerges. That other side is whole. People who live always in that whole side never lose track of themselves and think of kids as another species (though I can see why you think the way you do. Our culture wants adults to shut down and become drones).

16. Itís not wrong to say ďI want to get better!Ē Itís perfectly right. Something happened. Make it go away.

17. Itís not wrong to want a safe role model. Itís just dangerous. In the end, we make our own roads. You donít need a guide, all you need is a friend. People are never entirely safe: we all have our weirdnesses. But no one needs totally safe, they just need kindness and compassion. The role models are everywhere. Your friends, your teachers, your family. Remember to look deeply. See the good and the bad and grow as you would like to grow. Take what feels right. Leave behind the rest. Itís safely up to you, that way. And up to you, even when youíre a kid, is definitely the best.


#43639 - 05/08/05 11:37 PM Re: Thread for kids
ScottyTodd Offline
Administrator Emeritus
Registered: 02/12/03
Posts: 1561
Loc: Pennsylvania
Danny T. - Thanks!! Well said!! Don't we all wish we had heard when we were young victims? !!!! We're hearing it now!!


If you think you can or you can't - you're right!.......anon
It's never too late to have a happy childhood!.....anon
You're very normal for the abnormal situation you've been through..............S. Todd

#43640 - 05/09/05 12:13 AM Re: Thread for kids
reality2k4 Offline

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 6845
Loc: Stuck between water, air, and ...
Danny, I only read snippets of your post but I think this sums up a lot here,
This is for Charlie: It's not wrong to say you remember or to tell it the way you know it now when it's so fresh. Please do! I can't tell you how it would help to see that truth in the open. I tried to do it in a story, but I'm an adult with an adult's words. Part of the healing is being with others. We adults can offer you many things, you kids offer something amazing back: together we are a full perspective on the story
The young ones here amaze me too, and looking at things from different angles, is better than looking at just one angle.

We cannot see their hurt, but we can offer support and that can be a big thing in here,


Whoever stole the Sun, put it back and we'll drop all the charges!

#43642 - 05/09/05 01:59 PM Re: Thread for kids
irishguy Offline

Registered: 03/01/04
Posts: 231
Loc: Dublin, Ireland
Hey Danny,

wonderful post man, really really well said. Reading you're post made me feel a strenght inside me, its hard to explain the feeling but it was a good one, there was so much truth in everyting you said.... I dont know what else to say but "thank you"...


Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and fat.

#43643 - 05/09/05 09:23 PM Re: Thread for kids
Charlie Offline

Registered: 02/27/05
Posts: 148
Hey Danny, thanks for noticing me and my bro Kev and deciding to write. I'm real grateful and it means a lot.

#43644 - 05/10/05 02:55 AM Re: Thread for kids
DannyT Offline

Registered: 09/14/03
Posts: 645
posted May 09, 2005 09:55 PM
Hi Charlie,

Youíre welcome. Iím happy to help in any way I can. Really glad the message was usefulÖand Iíll try to answer your questions the way I understand them. Remember, Iím no therapistÖjust a thinking type (Mr. Spock was always my hero as kidÖhim and Dr. Strange anyway!).

First thing: anytime you get advice from someone, feel free to question and doubt and knock the ideas around. None of us can really speak for the others: no one can really speak any but his own truth, and part of self-respect means standing up for your own version of things. Nothing comes from self doubt but wasted time and pain.

2. When I said the abuse has nothing to do with you, I really mean the abuse says nothing about you or who you are. You werenít wearing some terrible badge that said ďAbuse me, Iím worthlessĒÖyou just happened to be the child of a sick man.

The abuse was not about you. It never was. It never is. Your dad's sickness caused the abuse: nothing in you brought it on. Certain germs only target dogs, others only hit cats, your dad targeted you (as my dad did me). Blaming yourself or wondering about this particular question is dangerous and totally futile. Itís like blaming yourself for getting the flu.

3. This blame and doubt is a good example of what I mean by a symptom. For some reason many of us abused guys end up with these same questions. We obsess about them, just like you are doing. The questioning is just a symptom of the trauma, like the itch that comes with a bug bite. For me thinking about it this way allows me to separate myself from the questioning process. I can look at myself doubting myself, then I see that Iím just scratching the sore again. If I stop scratching, the sore eventually goes away. Thatís really what I mean by habits of mind. Meditation helps this a lot. It teaches us how to stop the circular thinking.

4. Belief is an interesting problem. I said what I said to Kev, because it seemed true of his story. Remember, all our situations are different. But whenever you encounter disbelief, you have to ask yourself if people really distrust you or if they just can't handle the truth. These are separate things.

You mentioned ďpretends not to see,Ē and I think thatís what happened to me. My mom couldnít handle the facts (at least thatís what I think). She couldn't handle the idea that she had married a sick, drunken man. Her dreams crumbled around her and she freaked out. I guess what Iím saying is, we have to face other peopleís insecurities in this terrible process. How much can they handle? Adults seem to have a ton more responsibility (some do, some don't), but that doesnít guarantee any more ability to handle the pressure.

Not every adult is matureÖ.so many are not that it really shocks me. Lots of adults get into terrible traps because of this. They marry people they donít love or get jobs they hate, they forget the truth that serious play is joy and they weigh themselves down. Then when they see something terrible, like abuse, itís way more than they can handle, it breaks their spirit and they die inside. Saying they choose not to believe Ďcause itís easier misses this point. Those people canít really see anything anymore. You may already have seen this blindness in their eyesÖthey kind of glaze over, and you know youíll never get through. Not all adults are like this. I know Iím not. Nor will you be (most likelyÖanother facet of abuse is the clear eye for pain). So you canít expect all adults to be strong any more than you can expect all kids to be strong.

5. The most important thing to me about the belief question is that you trust yourself first and foremost. And when people doubt you, let their doubt be a reflection on them, not on you. What truths can they handle?

Anytime you feel doubted, the place to look for the problem is in the doubter, not in yourself.

6. You are not the problem. The problem is with your family. You are not the bad kid. You are the victim of your familyís weakness. I went through a similar (though not so serious) problem. I got victimized again because I had been strong enough to speak out. Just like you I had caused the problem to come to the surface. And weak people canít bear having their weakness spoken. Suddenly they have to face what theyíve spent years (in the case of my mom and dad) drinking in order to forget. What you have to ask yourself is, do I want to live with people like that? Sometimes we have to realize we have families that need to be rejected.

7. So how do you reject that family when youíre a kid? You do what youíre doing. You talk to people you can respect and begin to develop the patterns of being that you want to have rather than those inflicted upon you. You look to the future with the strength of knowing you are true to yourself. Then a few years pass and you move on and out.

8. QUOTE: Some grownups talk to me like we're the same age or act like little kids and it makes me confused, scared and angry.
Recognizing that adults and kids can both be immature (and that both can be very mature) is powerful and right on the path to full self-respect. You are not less for being a kid (not am I more or less because of my age). Age is irrelevant. Youíll find sixty year old people who have never lost their fear of the dark or their petty meanness. Then youíll find six year olds (like my nephew) with whom you can have great conversations. This recognition gives you strength. You can see this even now in our conversation. We are both talking pretty deep talk: Iím using my voice, which has a certain sound, you are using yoursÖwhich also has a certain sound, but we are both speaking maturely about an important thing.

Our maturity comes from our ability to face our fears and let them out: we see one another clearly. That means respect. I respect you, Charlie. Iím not talking at you, but with you.
This is very different from the thing of your mom whining at you. Sheís not being a kid, sheís being immature. Thatís not the same thing. Sheís not able to face her fears with self-respect.

This is also very different from QUOTE: I was trying so f-cking hard to be the responsible grownup, a man, 'cause there was no one else.

In this case you've been forced into a false positionÖnot into being a man, but into being your motherís parent (or something similar). That has nothing to do with being a man. To me being a man is the coolest thing: it means I can be myself. I can plan my life and live it for me. I can chose who I want to spend my time with and I can make things go. Staying true to yourself helps with the healing and with all the other life issues.

By the way, the stuff you call "kids stuff" is really life stuff. School means learning which means becomingÖitís the beginning of an amazing voyage of discovery. Friends will always bring you joy and complication, and they stay the touchstoneÖyou can always talk to your friends and see where youíre going. Skating is joy and flying (I just started last yearÖat 39! Most of my friends think Iím crazy! But I'm a skier and needed that special sense of motion in the summer too). What do you like best about it? I say skate your heart out. And every time you leap into the air remember that that means you can fly: you can do something very few people can do. What does it feel like to you? Is it flying, like it is to me?

I also love the stillness and real balance it brings to my heart. That stillness is a sanctuary. Whenever you feel bad take your mind to that place and stay there. For me that place has no voices and hence, no pain. When you're in the zone, feeling every bit of the path and moving just so, with perfect balance you are really whole. That sense of wholeness is your center...find it all the time. This isnít about forgetting your problems, its more about finding yourself. When you act from that central place, you will always be true to yourself. And in being true, you will act well. Being happy? Thatís what weíre talking about, isnít it. You donít have to strive to be happy when youíre true to yourself: in that case, the happiness just is.

7. QUOTE But who's gonna tell me about guys stuff when every man who's ever been in my life hurt me?

I think itís best to keep on trusting. Just donít expect perfect good faith from people (we're all of us flawed). You and your friends will discover lots of great guy things, and the discovery is part of the joy. Let your foster dad into your heart a little bit, just donít expect the world from him or from anyone. Let him screw up, and be gentle with him. Look deep into his eyes when you talk. Listen to your heart when it tells you who he is. Then, whenever you show the bad stuff to anyone, be kind to them and give them some time to hear you. Remember that it's hard even to hear the bad stuff, so be gentle in its expression and give it time to sink in.

Itís always hard to find good role models. I find lots of them in books. Dune is a great book for me that way. The main character, Paul, goes through a lot of hard stuff, but he is so strong, and all the paths he takes to deal with things seem right to me. But l think also of some of my teachers, and look for people who everybody respects. Sometimes our judgement isnít all that great (mine was pretty bad at your age), but if look around carefully, youíll find all kinds of good ones. Thinking about it, most of mine were and are from books. Lots of comics for me, like Daredevil. Thereís a guy who really came from a bad place and stayed strong.

In dealing with your anger, let it out and out and out until it bores you. Take a whole weekend if you need it and just yell and yell and yell until the yelling even is boring. Losing interest in your own pain is unbelievably healing. Iím so bored with my inner voice that it generally makes me laugh. I canít tell you how freeing that laugher is. I go on about something for a while in my head, then I see the pattern, and laughter almost immediately follows...then the voice shrinks away to nothing. If you do this yelling work, be sure to do it in a safe place: some people scream into their pillows, I sometimes do it in my car while driving. Some people I know write out the hatred over and over on a single piece of paper until the paper is covered with their pain. If you try this one be sure to speak as you write. Then burn the paper safely and wash the ashes down the drain or into a stream. When you let go of the ashes say something like. This pain is now washed clean. I tried it once, and it really helped.

I just re-read thisÖSorry itís is so long and pushyÖ.Iíve had a hard day of being told what to do, so maybe Iím trying too hard to be clear.

Hope itís useful!



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