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#465767 - 05/25/14 01:28 PM Hello!
PMGNT Offline

Registered: 05/24/14
Posts: 25
Loc: Eastern USA
Hello everybody. This is my first post. I joined yesterday and have been reading. This seems like such a nice forum, very gentle, very well cared for.

I am a man in my late 50s. My mother and I had a sexual relationship for several years, roughly age 11 to 14 for me. I don't think it's complete to say "abuse is abuse", I think it's important that abuse can be very mild or very severe or anywhere between, a big spectrum. My abuse was pretty mild.

Somebody else has a description of "covert abuse" and mine was like that, though I wouldn't have named it "covert". If I got caught behaving that way today with somebody other than my spouse, I'd be in big trouble, there's no way I could get away with saying it was just friendly or affectionate. It was definitely sexual in nature. Nobody fondled my genitals or penetrated me or anything like that, but this was a sustained and intense thing. Is necking just friendly, or is it sexual? It's sexual. I do feel that people who had more severe physical abuse have more of a burden in many ways, so I want to make this distinction, and say this was real sexual abuse, but not very severe sexual abuse as sexual abuse goes.

But there was an unusually damaging element to this. In the middle of these several years, my father committed suicide by eating rat poison and weed killer. He spent hours that night dying, as this way of dying takes some time. He did this in his office while talking on the phone with my mother, and she kept talking to him (and didn't call the police or do anything else to interrupt it). She kept talking him through it.

I feel as though I got conned into something, like this relationship I was doing with my mother made me on her side instead of his side. Not only did I always feel creepy around her, and feel like splitting away from myself, and all kinds of stuff like that, but I also felt disloyal or like I'd been played against my father, and just didn't quite manage to prevent or fix it. I don't (or didn't) feel exactly like his death was all my fault, but I do (or did) feel like I played a role. Yet, my father was the one I loved and admired and wanted to be like. I, or "kinda I", loved my mother because I had to and because I was supposed to, but it was a side of me that was doing what it was expected to do and not the real me. The real me loved my father.

And I believe he loved me too. He planned to kill me, and my younger sister, along with himself. He planned a boating trip which we looked forward to. His plan, which he didn't tell us, was to drown us. My mother found out; I guess he told her, which doesn't make much sense, but it was a messed up time as it was. Anyway they had a huge fight and we didn't go. I am very happy to be alive and have no suicidal thoughts myself, I promise you, and I am glad we didn't go. But I believe he wanted to kill us to take care of us. This is a common themes in suicides. The person committing suicide often brings those he loves along with him, as he leaves this terrible intolerable life. He saves others he cares for. My father wanted this for me and I love him for that.

So this is all a mess. I basically regret my childhood.

I moved out at the age of 16, to a Quaker boarding school. My grandmother, my father's mother, arranged this. I think she saw this was an absolutely poisonous home, and she made no secret of disliking my mother. She wanted to get me out. My grandmother was wonderful. My time at the boarding school was when my heart began to open, and it was a loving and caring place, and it is the place I get homesick and nostalgic for.

And I started therapy, and eventually had 23 years of it. At one point I was seeing three different therapists in individual therapy, as well as a weekly group therapy that was a pretty typical group therapy, and another special intensive physical group therapy that met for four hour sessions once a month. These three therapists worked together and were the local experts on treating adult survivors of sexual abuse.

One of the things we did in this therapy was "Family of Origin" work, developed by James Framo. In this work you reassemble the original family, or whatever's left of it, and so that was my mother and my sister and me. The book says everybody predicts their family will explode and never speak again after one of these sessions, but don't worry, that never actually happens. Well, it happened. I have been completely estranged from my family for a quarter century now. I don't even know if they are still alive. My mother would be mid 80's, and had had a couple minor cancers back then, so it's fairly likely she's no longer alive. Back when this estrangement started I was trying desperately to figure out and do whatever I was supposed to do. Today I am so thankful that my original family is gone, out of my life. I want nothing to do with any of them ever again.

So, that's my basic story. There's a bunch of other stuff. I'm an alcoholic and have been sober since November 1, 1986. I've been married 25 years. I have a great career, 32 years with the same excellent company. I'm a scientist working in industry. I also am very active and visible in LGBT advocacy. I love life and have all kinds of deep friendships and things that matter hugely to me. This mess with my childhood, though, is a major theme running through my life and I don't see that it will ever be right. It gives me some special powers (I don't know how else to express it). I'm not magic, but it gives me perception and caring and bigheartedness, and I like that. But there's this thread of pain that ties my whole life together.

I'm happy to be here. I wish this had been available to me 40 years ago, but much better late than never.

#465788 - 05/26/14 02:08 AM Re: Hello! [Re: PMGNT]
kcinohio Offline

Registered: 06/06/12
Posts: 506
Loc: Ohio
Hi PMGNT, Thanks for your introduction. Hope you find MS forums supportive and helpful. Sounds like your sober recovery and therapy have helped you gain a full life despite the childhood abuse. That's good to hear.

Hope you continue to make progress with childhood themes that emerge. Personally, I've also found that though it may never be "right," my life process subsequent from it may be loving enough for the overall picture to be okay. Plus, the understanding love in my life definitely didn't peak too early, lol.

By the way, I've been sober from alcohol since July 29, 1999.

#465792 - 05/26/14 02:26 AM Re: Hello! [Re: kcinohio]
PMGNT Offline

Registered: 05/24/14
Posts: 25
Loc: Eastern USA
Thank you, kcinohio! Nicely said, "my life process subsequent from it may be loving enough". That's a bit of poetry. And early congratulations on your upcoming 15th!

#465800 - 05/26/14 11:20 AM Re: Hello! [Re: PMGNT]
Jude Offline

Registered: 08/09/12
Posts: 1633
Loc: New England
Welcome PMGNT,

Please consider that there is no hierarchy of severity of sexual abuse. Regardless of the details, it seems to always have pretty much the same poisonous effects on men's lives.

It sounds like you've done alot of work on recovery. you probably have alot to teach us all. Congratulations on your sobriety. I have 17 years myself.

And I so understand what you mean by "But there's this thread of pain that ties my whole life together". Thats what we have to learn to live with in recovery.

Be well,

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

#465802 - 05/26/14 12:03 PM Re: Hello! [Re: PMGNT]
Suwanee Offline
Chat Moderator

Registered: 10/30/12
Posts: 1248

Welcome to MS and thank you for sharing not only your pain, but also your insight. Jude is right, there is no hierarchy of abuse. One thing I noticed early in my time at MS is that a cardinal (if unspoken) rule is that we don't rank experiences. That said, you have made tremendous strides and should be rightfully proud of your accomplishments in healing and in life. May you continue your forward progress!

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


#467662 - 07/16/14 05:48 AM Re: Hello! [Re: PMGNT]
victor-victim Offline

Registered: 09/27/03
Posts: 6379
Loc: 𝒪 𝒦anada
welcome to

it is very difficult to measure abuse objectively, i dare say impossible.

what happened to you seems worse than what happened to me.

just a subjective opinion from someone who has never endured your experience.

there simply is no comparison.

hope you find peace and healing here.



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