In most regards I am glad I found this website. It's been a universally constructive, safe, empowering community, and for the most part I guess I'm glad to see I'm not alone (though yeah, obviously, I'm sorry it happened to anybody).
But there's one thing here that I was horrified to see. Just horrified.
This thing that is apparently known as "SSA". I consider myself a very well-read and worldly guy but I'd never heard of the concept in this context until I came here. And it's kind of erased a major chunk of my life. Is this a re-victimization? Can you be re-victimized by trying to seek help in the first place?
I was molested at age 8. Didn't understand it. Figured it out around 11-12. Felt no conscious damage from it and was able to move past and ignore it for basically the entire rest of my life - until a nervous breakdown this past fall. By 12-13, when sexual urges / interests started, I was startled and confused because my attentions seemed split between girls and guys. I'll never forget that in health class we had a project to examine gender / sex appeal issues and we were supposed to watch commercials meant to market products to either men or women based on ideas of desirability / sexiness.... and I didn't "get it", it was like they were all speaking another language, I couldn't tell any of the ads apart. All of the people were sexy. I tried to shrink into my seat and made sure to answer last so I could match what the other kids had said.
I hated myself, full of confusion - disgust - self loathing - and absolute terror - at the thought that I could ever be gay or have gay thoughts. Being gay was the most horrible disgusting fate imaginable. I'd view every time I got the hots for a girl or j/o-ed to straight porn as not just enjoyable but also a victory. It was never forced - I always liked girls. But liking guys too outweighed it. Typical smalltown internal / external homophobia bullshit - where everything bad or weak or strange was "gay" and everybody who was different or who you just didn't like was a "f@ggot."
I had a ritual mantra of straightness assurance words that, if I repeated them to myself enough, would just totally totally prove that I was straight and make it permanent and banish all gay thoughts and gay everything forever. I repeated my ritual mantra of straightness assurance words probably 200-300 times a day for 6 years.
Do you get the picture of the self-loathing and confusion and terror yet?
Okay then - fastforward to young adulthood! By my early 20s, by going through college and moving to a big city and working with a very diverse crowd including many openly gay people, and by continuing to desire women and hook up with them whenever I could... yadda yadda yadda... I manage to come to terms with my sexuality. Realized that I was a good person, that no one could "see" my thoughts, that I wasn't a dirty freak for having these thoughts, that teenagers are idiots, that there was nothing wrong with bi *or* gay people, and it was wrong to judge people on such matters anyway, and that male bisexuality was a real thing (Dan Savage finally coming around to it was a big help!).
And so, I accepted myself fully as a bi man. I came out to myself - and no one else - but that's really the most important person in the equation isn't it? In my own mind, in the mirror, there was no more denial. No more shame. No more guilt. The cloud lifted. I was comfortable and happy and confident. I never hooked up with guys in person but there were always other options.... I'm sure the guys reading in this forum of all places know exactly what I'm talking about. I was cool with all of it and left all the bad feelings behind.
....then I came here.
And I found out about the pervasiveness of "SSA" within survivors and found myself shaken and dumbfounded. I had never, ever heard of this, and if anyone had told me beforehand I would have assumed they were lying. I knew that the "vampire syndrome" was a myth and so would never have believed this either. Gaybashing creationists are the only people who believe that pedophiles "turn you gay." Isn't everybody taught that people are "born this way"? That it's just who you are? That was how I accepted it - that it really is WHO I AM and since I'm going to know myself for (hopefully) a long time I'd better get comfortable with it.
But what if it never was the real me? What if I wasn't predestined to have these feelings and this orientation - if it even IS my orientation after all?!?!
I WORKED SO HARD FOR SO MANY YEARS to like myself and not be afraid of how I felt and I finally finally finally was happy. And then this new paradigm of "yeah, getting molested can make you fantasize about dudes and be full of guilt the whole time" is just like a knife in my heart.
What if my self-loathing as a teenager WASN'T self-loathing at all? What if those feelings really WEREN'T me, weren't the "self" - but were from HIM? I feel nauseous and sick envisioning my 13-year-old self now maybe as a meant-to-be-straight kid, doing psychic battle with some alien thing that really was NOT ME - that I was RIGHT to reject - that really was hostile and not supposed to be there and was attacking me. That HE had injected those feelings into me right along with his cumload. That my "real self" was struggling and needed help in my teenaged years and maybe all my denial could have helped... could have worked... or therapy at the right time or something...
....but in the end, by accepting "myself," maybe I was actually accepting his poison, his reprogramming.
What if I was surrendering? Turning over a confused 13-year-old kid to unwanted and uncontrollable urges that really WERE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE THERE? What if instead of accepting my real self, I was actually abandoning and killing my real self and settling for whatever he'd turned me into?
I am heartbroken, empty and desolate. I think back at the plus-or-minus DECADE that I spent at war with myself and then finally learning to like and accept myself and being okay with how I felt after all. Everybody noticed an improvement in my mood, my self-confidence. Argh. I was in psychic agony for so long and came very close to suicide so many times, war with myself, and then was PROUD of what I thought was a BREAKTHROUGH when I accepted being bi, gave up the guilt, reveled and luxuriated in the feelings being free at long long last, even if they were only free to me - at least I knew. At least I knew who I was and I was okay with it. I'd come so far over the years, found the real me, and liked me.
I don't know who I am anymore.
I don't know what I am anymore.
I might never know.
I feel like a statue from an extinct civilization that was smashed into a million shards and that clueless anthropologists will try and fail to piece together for decades, before giving it up and putting all the ruins in a cardboard box with a little tag on them to get cobwebby, just another unsolved mystery, permanently unsolvable without a working time machine.
And I'm more miserable than I've ever, ever been.
I will never know. I will never really know. It was all for nothing.
I should have told. I wasn't okay. I should not have waited TWENTY-SIX YEARS. I should have told. I should have told. I should have been seeing a child psychiatrist before I turned 10. Certainly before puberty. I should have told. I should not have thought it was okay. I should not have tried to spare my parents and sister from pain. I should not have cared about how much they all cried when it turned out my sister's boyfriend was a pedophile who raped multiple boys in the neighborhood (not me, I was "off limits"). I should not have prioritized keeping them all from crying more about child abuse as more important than actually telling about my abuse. I should have done something and now it's much, much too late.
I've started to go over this with my T, but what's the point? Without a time machine she's as clueless as I am.
Hate myself more than ever.
And I can't cry too loud or else I'll wake up my wife.
Oh God help me. Or someone, anyone help me. Help me know.
"Don't think it hasn't been a little slice of Heaven just because it hasn't!" --Bugs Bunny