Please don’t read this if you’re easily triggered. I write a lot here. While it was healing for me to write it, and to post it, I don’t know if it will be healing for anyone to read it. I talk about how a person can be abused by more than one abuser, in more than one type of situation. I talk about how sometimes survivors can become offenders. I talk about confusion over sexual orientation. I talk about the scripts I wrote to survive my mother’s abuse.
Sometimes something as innocent as a news story can be a powerful trigger.
Only this news story wasn’t so innocent.
A two part expose about a male teacher who molested his student, going on to address his own history of sexual abuse by a teacher. An expose meant to point to the cyclical nature of sexual abuse left untreated.
On the one hand I understand the benefit and need of these stories. Educate. Reduce stigma. Get people talking. But then what about “us?” We who read the story and get catapulted back to a time when we two were helpless and perhaps hopeless.
I’ve been so busy concentrating on the abuse with my mom – I forget/forgot that those who are victimized often, for reasons I don’t really understand, fall prey to multiple abusers. There is some question about an uncle who may or may not have blurred boundaries. I can’t even go there. This is something a bit different.
I had a neighbor when I was young – a creepy neighbor. I babysat his grandson and was in LOVE with his eldest son. I’ll call him Mark. Mark was something of a protector. Would hustle me out of the house if he was the first one home, would tell me to go home if his dad came home and that under no circumstances were my services needed for the grandson if another adult was in the home. I can only imagine he knew what his father was capable of. One of the sons in that family (there were five) went on to serve jail time for carrying on an inappropriate sexual relationship with one of his tween daughter’s friends. No, let me be accurate. For molesting and raping the 11 year old friend of his daughter. The daughter and my brother were friends. She has lived a very troubled, drug addled life.
I called Mark something of a protector. He had a best friend – “Andy.” When I knew Mark and Andy they were in their late teens. I was the pesky fourteen year old who was constantly coming around. Andy was in the military. I think he was Army although at the time I was convinced he was a Marine. Maybe he told me that, maybe I had a thing for Marines. I don’t know. I do know that I lusted after him. He was a good Mark substitute. Where Mark wouldn’t entertain my flirtations, Andy would notice my pathetic attempts to “dress like a grown up.” He would wrestle with me from time to time, and make me giggle and squeal. He was physically large, muscular, and played the older brother. he would tease me about how guys my age “better not get any ideas” or he would kick ass. Nobody ever protected me. I didn’t see what Mark was doing regarding his father as protection at the time. Now I wonder if he knew what was going on with Andy, and maybe just felt powerless to intervene against one more crazy person. I can only imagine that he too was drawn to certain qualities in people.
It wasn’t long before I confided in Andy – small things – about how much I hated my mom, and my family, and responsibility, and my body, and everything else a fourteen year old hates. He would meet me for walks where we would walk his German Shepherd. We’d lay on the grass and talk, and he would put a protective arm around me.
It wasn’t long before things became sexual. He was smart. He would warn me all the time that he wouldn’t’ be able to resist me forever. So a quick hip wiggle would lead to a snuggle, which led to a kiss – slowly, and over a matter of weeks. All of these behaviors were “very dangerous” and “I should know he couldn’t be responsible for if he couldn’t control himself.” I really thought I was in control. At some point I was begging him to have sex with me – to “make love to me.” Some big romantic Disney notion about the man who loved me so much he couldn’t resist. Maybe not Disney. Sorry Disney.
He never did have sex with me – although I don’t think intercourse would have made much difference in the grand scheme of things. Eventually he got deployed, and I cried and cried. Over this special man, who wanted me to save myself for the “right time.” I had no idea what he was taking from me all along.
Even as I type this it seems awful romantic. Like something I would read in a trashy novel. Come to think of it, I did read those trashy novels – all the time. At fourteen. When my mother was done with them. But I digress. The reality is that I was desperate to please him, to drive him over the edge, to keep him near and protecting me. There was no balance of power. No honor in his abstention from that one act. There was no reciprocation of pleasure. He “couldn’t control himself” until his orgasm, at which time he would remember himself in time to save himself from “defiling” me. If I would pull away, or not want to meet, he would manipulate me. He would become angry, call me a tease, say I confused him, and didn’t I love him?
When my mother would act against me I would replace her actions with thoughts of him. I romanticized it, and I survived it. As I got older I replaced him with fantasy boyfriends who were equal parts threatening and protective. A lot of my sexual fantasies involved coercion, if not rape. From there it isn’t a huge stretch that I got involved in an underground bdsm scene. Or that my mother introduced me to it. Or did I introduce her to it?
That’s the problem with my memories. They’re like a huge spaghetti bowl. I don’t quite know where one ends and another begins. Who was the abuser, what was the abuse. Who caused what and what came first.
It’s interesting – I struggle quite frequently with my sexuality. Some days I feel like I really am a lesbian. Some days I settle on the term bisexual. It confuses me because I feel like I should hate women, and I don’t trust my attraction to women because I worry that somehow it’s the offense cycle rearing it’s ugly head. I’ve never understood why I can’t enjoy sex with my husband without a whole lot of effort. Penises never hurt me – not real ones anyway.
Except they did, in a sense. I over-wrote what was happening with my mom with some sort of sanitized version in which a man was the actor. So maybe that gets all the blame.
I don’t know if I would be attracted to women if not for what happened with my mom. From the age of twelve I was sexually active with my best friend, while trying to seduce her older brother. Something wasn’t right, but how do you begin to tease that all out? I do know that in my relations with women I am much more the aggressor/pursuer than I am with men. I don’t need to be protected from women, but do they need to be protected from me?
No answers. So many feelings.