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Trying to Understand and Make Sense Of It

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  • #372607
    Joe
    Participant

    I’m having a really hard time accepting that I’m not a monster for something inappropriate I did at six years old.  I knew this was wrong, I was ashamed of it, and didn’t read until recently that children exposed to pornography and adult sexual situations too early (for me it was 4) sometimes go on to try and reenact the things they’ve seen and witnessed.  I was extremely neglected as a child (I have suffered all for types of Child Abuse neglect) and abandoned emotionally at a very young age.  Both of my biological parents are alcoholics and substance abusers, and my Step Dad, is not only those things, but a very narcissistic, emotional and psychological, physical, abuser.   As I said in a previous post, I’m not going into graphic details, just that I behaved inappropriately with a girl a couple of years younger than me and did it sneakily because I wanted to feel good.   I felt bad immediately afterward because I lied about what was going on and carry that shame of doing something like that to this day.  I never did anything like this again (aside from what genuinely was normal child exploration with consenting people close to my own age) but I always thought it was reasoning for my Step Dad being right when he’d take the time to tell me what a messed up little kid I was.     I never got any sort of real psychological counseling or therapy as a kid.  My Mom was the kind of person to trick the school when they were worried about my behavior problems.  She’d act like she was this hardworking Mom who had a son that just acted up because, when in all actuality as soon as we were out of the ears of anyone in those positions she’d go right back into behaving just as abusively as before.  There were people who tried to intervene, but she was a very crafty manipulator and always got them to just let it go.  My biological father was a bad alcoholic who I loved dearly, who spent my entire life promising to take me out of the abuse of my Mom and Step Dad’s house and who never did.  I told him how they treated me, what was going on, and he never came through for me.  Not to mention, when I took an honest assessment of my life, I remembered that he had let me look at his motorcycle magazines with naked women in them when I was 7, so he really isn’t all that different than the other times this happened.  I think I never gave him his credit for also being a negative influence because he was my hero. I ended up emancipating myself and enlisting  in the Army at 17 and shipping out of there, which ended up  being an actual blessing, although at times it was horrible because of the things I was raised in and how I acted in the world.  There were some brutal, embarrassing times that I endured as a “fresh adult” as a result of their neglectful upbringing and not having basic life skills. I understand the concept of self forgiveness, but that doesn’t change how I feel about this for some reason.  Is this some kind of PTSD or OCD that I don’t quite understand?

    #372616
    Joe
    Participant

    Also, Anita, thank you for caring enough to reply to so many others.  Your willingness to listen and provide honest advice and fellowship impressed and inspired me to finally bring this to light and talk to someone about it.  I would never have been able to do this if I hadn’t seen someone like you offering the compassion and attempts at understanding that you do.

     

     

     

    #372609
    Richard
    Participant

    In my opinion, your step dad was WRONG when he told you that you were a messed up little kid.  That is not the way to speak to any child.  I feel like I could have greatly benefited from therapy during my childhood.  There are pent up feelings, hurt, and beliefs I carry inside.  I struggle with self-forgiveness.  I have read numerous self-help, psychology, and mindfulness books, and still am searching for ways to forgive myself and move past past-hurts.

    There is a guided meditation I listen to often called Forgiveness by Dan Ireland of Awareful.  I listen to it on an app called Insight Timer.  It almost always makes me cry.  I find it helpful.  Perhaps you would as well.

    From your posting, it is clear you did not have it easy growing up.  You had the courage to get out of there and enlist in the military and serve your country.  You have the courage to post about your struggles here.  Give yourself a ton of credit for being brave.  I hope you are able to find ways to forgive yourself.

    #372621
    DocWolf
    Participant

    Joe,

    What happened to you as a child was awful, but you must understand, at 6 years old you are still in the monkey-see-monkey-do age range. Critical thinking and situational understanding are not yet developed. In fact, it is only after 7 years old that a child begins to develop a sense of self  that is independent from their parents. Your actions were nothing more than an imitation of the adults in your life. They modeled that behavior in front of an impressionable child who had no way of understanding that what they were doing was fundamentally wrong. You carry no guilt in this.

    From a psychological perspective, when a child undergoes that kind of trauma their personality fractures. In other words, a portion of the personality splits away to encapsulate the event in order to protect you from the pain. Unfortunately, it seems that when this happens the portion that breaks away freezes in time, and doesn’t age or mature with the rest of your psyche. What this means (without giving a diagnoses, as that is not allowed here), is that you may have a six year old boy screaming inside of you to help them understand the trauma they experienced. It is this little boy who is begging for help.

    Without overstepping the rules of this site, I would suggest you reach out to a practitioner of Neurolinguistics Programming. They are specialists in this sort of personality crisis, and can help you heal and reintegrate the little you inside who is crying for help. Until then the best thing you can do is to show that little you all the love and compassion that you can, because adult you does understand, and adult you is the best one to help little you understand.

    #372631
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Joe:

    I am glad you started your own thread and thank you for your kind words. I am not focused enough at this time to read and reply to you with the attention that you deserve, therefore I will be back to you tomorrow morning, in about 16 hours from now.

    I was wondering if you can elaborate on this sentence before I return: “There were some brutal, embarrassing times that I endured as a ‘fresh adult'”- but please, elaborate only if you feel comfortable doing so, and only to the extent you feel comfortable with.

    anita

     

    #372644
    Joe
    Participant

    Anita, thank you again for responding to me,

    When I was seventeen I was very emotionally immature and couldn’t process how to be an adult when I left.  I lied, cheated, and manipulated to survive and there were times where I found out that my way of behaving “right” was nowhere close to what other people thought right was.   I turned to alcohol right away and between the ages of seventeen and eighteen consumed enough liquor and beer to last me the rest of my life.  I only knew how to project a false self because I was terrified of ever being completely honest and I said and did things during that time that made people shake their heads.   Once, I got really drunk on a Korean liquor called Soju and ended up urinating on someones door, which got me shoved to the floor by a guy three times my size who went on to try and say I was being racist, when in all actuality, that wasn’t any part of it.  I got up after he shoved me and then had to clean up my mess and be shamed in front of some of my peers and the next day he and his friends urinated on my bed, my Dvd player and a few of my other things after I manned up an apologized to him the next morning and he acted like everything was okay.  I grew up around people saying inappropriate things, constantly, so my idea of what constituted something funny wasn’t funny to some and I embarrassed myself by my jokes and speech quite a few times.  I also got attention from women for the first time in a way I wasn’t used to.  In my town, I was a low, dirty, poor kid and when I went to the Army, I got to be something else.  I finally had money to buy my own personal hygiene products and clothing and a place with three hot meals a day and hot showers and girls who I thought would have never given me the time of day started giving me notice and I engaged in risky, promiscuous behavior for awhile.  I didn’t know how to process that attention.

     

    #372674
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Joe:

    First I will retell what you shared and add quotes:

    As a child, you lived with (1) your step father: an alcoholic and substance abuser, a very narcissistic man who abused you physically, emotionally and psychologically, telling you that you were “a messed up little kid”, (2) your mother, an alcoholic and substance abuser who abused you in all kinds of ways, severely neglecting and abandoning you.

    At the hands of these two, you “suffered all types of Child Abuse”. You told your biological father about the abuse your suffered by the other two, about what happened in their house, and he promised to take you “out of the abuse of my Mom and Step Dad’s house”- but he “never did”.

    Teachers/ counselors in the school noticed behavioral problems on your part and were concerned about your life-experience at home, so, they contacted your mother and had her come to school. But your mother, “a crafty manipulator”, tricked the school professionals, acting like “this hardworking Mom”, and “out of the ears of anyone in those positions she’d go right back into behaving just as abusively as before”.

    At four years old, you were “exposed to pornography and adult sexual situations”. Your biological father shared his “motorcycle magazines with naked women” with you when you were seven years old.

    At 17, you emancipated yourself and joined the army. Having grown up “around people saying inappropriate things, constantly”, you didn’t know what was appropriate/ right to say and do vs. what was inappropriate/ wrong to say and do, so you said and did inappropriate things “that made people shake their heads”:  you consumed massive amounts of alcohol from 17- 18, you “lied, cheated, and manipulated to survive”, you urinated on someone door once, when drunk, and you were involved in “risky, promiscuous behaviors for awhile”.

    In the town you grew up in, you were “a low, dirty, poor kid”. In the army, you “got to be something else”, finally had money to buy personal hygiene products and clothing, and three hot meals a day, and hot showers and girls started to give you the time of day.

    You closed your post in the other thread and opened your original post with this, addressed to me: “I would really appreciate hearing your take on this. I’ve always thought I was some kind of whacko/ monster… I’m having a really hard time accepting that I’m not a monster for something inappropriate I did at six years old”-

    – my take: I don’t see a monster or a whacko, not at six and not currently, at almost forty. I see a boy who survived and endured a terrible childhood, a boy who was a good boy all along and who turned out to be a good man. I see nothing else but what I just stated.

    I am wondering if you are still in the military, and if you ever attended psychotherapy, (I understand that psychotherapy is frowned upon in the military, that it is risky for one’s career in the military, to attend therapy)?

    anita

    #372676
    Joe
    Participant

    Anita,

    Again, thank you for responding to me.  I am no longer in the military and I have attended some therapy and am looking to get back into it again.

     

    #372694
    anita
    Participant

    You are welcome, Joe. I wish you the best!

    anita

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