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#468195 - 07/30/14 01:35 AM Born at age 20
sadclown Offline

Registered: 02/27/14
Posts: 59
My T always compliments me for the "achievement" of survival. I say that sets the bar very low, but give me an opportunity to take a jab at myself or deflect a compliment and I will seize it. He remarks that all things considered, I did well. He constantly says I'm not as fucked up as I think I am and that no matter how hard I try to convince him, he won't buy into the idea that I am an unlovable monster. However, he says the most severe damage I have sustained is in human connections. I can't get close to anyone, not truly. I have close friendships, yes. And I am grateful. However, I have deleted the first 20 years of my life. If any of you have read 1984, the best way to describe it is to say that my kid-self is an unperson. He isn't just dead- he never existed.

I don't tell anecdotes, however benign. No one has ever seen a picture of me that was not taken while I was in the Army or after. I live alone, but anything pertaining to my childhood that I have is locked and hidden. Literally, I keep it in a footlocker under lock and key and tucked away at the bottom of a closet I never enter.

The thought of telling anyone anything letting on that I was once a kid, let alone the kind of childhood I had, makes me so anxious I get nauseous. My therapist made a suggestion about going over some photographs of when I was a kid together. I was overcome with panic. I told him straight up, "You can't ever see those. No one can."

I guess I have found a way to separate the kid from the man- to the point where its a different person all together. It makes sense, If I am not him, then nothing happened to me. Owning the kid means owning the pain, but more importantly, how could anyone accept or even like something so subhuman? I have to hide it because if anyone knew we were one and the same they could never have any respect for me. Could never think I'm cool, funny, clever, or nice to be around. Such toxicity would disintegrate all that I have built.

Part of how I know this can't really be the case is that its one of those things that makes perfect sense, but I can't explain or justify it. And "just knowing" something usually indicates a logical flaw. But it's an all or nothing game here. If I let anyone become aware of what I was, I can never unshow them, and I will be forced to live with the consequences of that choice. The odds are not good and the damage will be catastrophic. I like being liked- I like being welcomed among people. I like that people like to be around me. I never, ever, ever want to go back to the way things were, and its like if I accept that chapter of my life (you know, just 80% of my whole life)I will summon the demons of isolation, pain, loneliness, and despair. So I hide that part, so whatever it was about me never again comes to light to destroy what I have built, and most of all, no one ever knows what I was. No one could ever love that part of me, but the cruel irony is that to be loved they would need to accept it. By keeping up the ruse, I can assure being treated well, but I will always be ultimately alone because no one will know. Its a catch-22.

I'm certainly feeling defeated. It's a game of "Heads, I win. Tails, you lose." Share the monster and be abandoned, or hide it and no one really knows you?

Hell of a choice
My Story

"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed"- Ernest Hemingway

#468210 - 07/30/14 11:52 AM Re: Born at age 20 [Re: sadclown]
Jude Offline

Registered: 08/09/12
Posts: 1633
Loc: New England
Originally Posted By: sadclown
My T always compliments me for the "achievement" of survival. I say that sets the bar very low.....
Surviving an assault on the body and soul of a boy is not a low bar. Its a miracle. Yes, we survived with damage, but we survived to seek recovery. Some of us didn't make it that far.

Originally Posted By: sadclown
It's a game of "Heads, I win. Tails, you lose." Share the monster and be abandoned, or hide it and no one really knows you?

Hell of a choice
It IS a hell of a choice. But as one who spent a lifetime trying to hide "the monster", it was a futile effort. It could not be contained without copious amounts of alcohol, drugs, and dangerous sexual encounters. And eventually it got out anyway.

The truth is that when a man reveals his childhood sexual abuse (AKA "the monster"), some people DO abandon him. Those are the weak, fearful, self-centered ones. Others are drawn closer to us. They are the ones able to care for a man suffering the deepest pain possible.
I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories
Sarah McLachlan

#468218 - 07/30/14 03:11 PM Re: Born at age 20 [Re: sadclown]

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 3852

Do not feel defeated. It does not have to be a game of heads or tails. I too had separated the adult me from the child. We both suffered because we were not whole. Sadly I did not know I had disowned part of me, the child and the abuse. I was hiding and burying the truth. It was a dark secret and I despised that part of me. We were one person but traveled different paths. I did not want anything to do with the abuse nor the child part of me that just wanted love and because of me he believed love came from the acts of the abuser.

I suffered dissociation, syncope, sleepwalking--all subconscious altered states to escape the pain and memories. I did not have a clue these conditions were related to my suppression of the past, part of the PTSD the abuse left me with. I learned I coped during and after the abuse by dissociating and denying the abuse. I have gaps in life but I am happy to know my conditions have a cause. By attacking the cause of these conditions, the child within, I learned that part of me was not bad, but I felt guilty and responsible for what had happened to me-I would ask why me, why did I go back, why did I remain silent. I finally after years of hearing over and over from my T, people in support and doctors, I accepted I was a child and could not look at what happened through the eyes of an adult. I was stubborn but people and events helped me to see the truth, it was the bastards fault and not mine.

I did not keep it a secret, and I can tell you to my surprise at least 95% of the people have shown support and kindness. Yes you are going to have a percentage that lack a sense of decency and attack--but you will learn from those who have given you support and kindness these people are not worth giving up your life.

Unfortunately damage is done during the abuse but it can be undone. Isolating yourself and keeping the secret will keep you under the control of the abuser and the naysayers. You have shared your story here, and I hope it gave you a sense you are not alone, because you are not alone. I found once I let the secret out I felt relieved. For me I accidentally blurted it out on a Facebook comment. I thought I was posting to a private site--wrong--and all of a sudden I was receiving messages from so many people offering support. To be honest, when I opened the first message I was scared. I did not go back to my Facebook page for several days. I was scared, what had I done. I did not want to tell the world. When I opened the Facebook page after several days my message count was quite high. I was afraid to open, here comes the naysayers, the critics and all knowing. Once again I was wrong. Not one negative or unkind message. This accident, which I at first called stupid, helped me to realize a secret keeps us silent and alone. I do not recommend doing what I did, and if I had known it was not a private posting, I would not have posted. In the end, be it fate or some divine intervention, it was meant to be, I was not to keep the secret any longer.

SC please try to connect the two, as your T is trying to help you do. The pain and the abuse you experienced as a whole but somehow the brain fragmented you at that time, as it did me. You are meant to be one, and you need to love all parts of you so you can live your life to the fullest.

You have survived and will thrive as the whole you.


#468316 - 08/01/14 11:17 AM Re: Born at age 20 [Re: sadclown]
victor-victim Offline

Registered: 09/27/03
Posts: 6387
Loc: 𝒪 𝒦anada
i don't advocate secrecy.
but then people tell me i talk too much.
i sort of adopted an attitude of
"if you can't handle my truth. i don't need to know you."
i have long ago stopped hiding my history.
i feel liberated, but there are losses associated with disclosure.
i just focus on the joy of transparency and honesty.
that having been said, it was extremely difficult to start talking about it.
i was silent for too long, but purging was a necessary step of my recovery, i believe, and so it had to happen.
it may be that concealing the story until i was ready to tell may have been part of the healing process as well.

secrecy, like a scab,
is perhaps nature's attempt to protect a wound.

and now,
although i am healed, the scars remain.
cosmetics cannot repair.



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