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Childhood trauma - impact on my sexuality????

Discussion in 'Sexual Orientation' started by JaymzR1968, Sep 28, 2019.

  1. JaymzR1968

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    So, I guess this could go under LGBT Later in Life or under this forum topic - or maybe one that I’m missing. But I hope this is ok.
    I’ve shared previously that I am just now at age 50 truly embracing who I am as a gay man and giving more energy to enjoying this side of myself that I consciously put on hold for various reasons - so I won’t bore you all again with droning on and on with a repeat of that story.

    What I want to share here is my personal experience and journey to understand and eventually accept the real me - and what did and DID NOT have an impact or influence into that evolution.
    When I was 11, I was sexually assaulted - I’ll say it, raped, by a 19 year old man. It only happened the one time, but the pain (emotional and physical) would take its toll and shape parts of me for decades. It happened at church, I used to ride the Joy Bus every Sunday to the local church since my parents didn’t attend the early Sunday school classes as regularly as I had wanted to, and I really did enjoy it. He was the youth group leader, and I looked up to him as a role model in the church and I’m general as an older “man”. He asked me to help him stack some folding chairs in the storage room, and of course being the naive 11 year old and completely trusting of anybody associated with the church agreed. To spare the details, and also so I don’t get in trouble in this forum by posting to graphic of content, basically one thing led to another, we were alone and he used his authority and strength against me to do things to me that I had never even heard of let alone would have considered doing. Afterwards he threatened the typical “I’ll kill you and your family” and “nobody would believe you anyway” cliches - and I unfortunately took those to heart. My dad was in the military and I knew if he learned what happened he would be the one who ended up in prison for what he’d have done to this guy. And I was very protective of my little sister and was afraid he’d hurt her worse than he had hurt me. So I didn’t say anything. I attended services that morning, sitting next to my parents who came later, in pain and ashamed and frightened beyond any other time in my life. And I never went back to church or ever again prayed to the god I thought had abandoned me and allowed this to happen to a child, to me.

    I kept that secret with me for over 34 years. I locked it away. But it festered inside like poison...impacting literally every relationship I had for the rest of my life. I went on autopilot, numb to certain emotions on the outside as they raged on the inside. I put on a mask of what o thought my life was supposed to be and how I was supposed to feel if this had never happened to me. I went to school, I joined the military, got married (to a woman), had children, and generally lived a productive and stable life for a long long time. Eventually I was sent to serve in Desert Storm, and encountered things there that added to the ongoing PTSD issues I was already suffering through (even though I really didn’t know that’s what it was). Flash forward to my 45th year of life (I’m 50 now so you can do the math) and I was blessed to have a counselor who helped me on so many levels (EMDR by the way is a god send and lifesaver!) and was finally able to process this event in a healthy way and put it in the space it deserves. He’s in the space he deserves as well by the way - I wasn’t his first or last victim and he eventually got caught and is still in a state prison not eligible for parole until 2025. I told my parents and sister what happened, and the weight and burden really did start to lift and my soul my life became lighter and happier.

    Now, I had already accepted that i was in-fact gay a few years earlier - so the work I did with my counselor and on my own didn’t play a part in the realization and acceptance. And, the main point I’m trying to make with all this is: this one time event, as hurtful and impactful on my life going forward as it was, played absolutely no part in my sexuality/sexual orientation/attraction to men, or however you choose to label it. It was something that I distanced myself from, something that hurt, something that I would never ever want to repeat or wish upon another human being..,and I genuinely was “straight” for the majority of my life. It wasn’t until my ex wife and I did some experimenting and exploring together that I had any type of sexual encounters or desires to be with a man. And now that I am happily living my life as a gay man, I can say that it did not pay a role in that development or process. It was a completely separate piece of me, it wasn’t sex it was assault plain and simple.

    Yes, I know many many men who experience similar traumas in their early lives, do have other outcomes and it impacts everyone of us differently - I just wanted to share this story so those of you out there going thought this known that it DOES NOT DEFINE YOU! Only you can define yourself - and there is help and resources out there to help with the healing and moving into a healthier place in your life.
    Thank you for listening and sorry this was so long.
     
  2. Chip

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    This is an incredibly difficult and vulnerable thing to share, and also very important for others to hear. The incidence of sexual abuse before age 18 is about 1 in 3 females and 1 in 6 males. And without fail, it causes severe impact that can last for decades, impact relationships, friendships, and even health. There is data correlating childhood sexual abuse very highly with addiction, workaholism, increased divorce rates, and even health issues. And all of these things, when the core issues are addressed effectively in therapy, can be resolved.

    Thank you for sharing this. It's a good thing that you were able to find a counselor who helped you through it; many suffer and never reach out; others reach out but unfortunately, don't land with a counselor skillful enough to address the issues.
     
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  3. JaymzR1968

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    Yes, 1 in 6...that very true statistic floored me when I first heard it several years ago. My hope is that by sharing my story, that it may help somebody - even if it’s just one person, it’s worth letting it out in the open. It took decades to reach out, and it changed my life when I finally did - I wonder sometimes where I’d be today if I’d had the courage and strength to do it sooner. But hindsight is 20/20.
    The impacts you mentioned are very real. Addiction, unhealthy relationships and high divorce rates, inability to trust, being a workaholic, and so on. But it can get better, and it can stop making a person feel like that abuse or assault defines them or that the damage it did isn’t repairable.
     
  4. MBM4K54

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    It is good to hear about it from someone else.
    I was sexually abused by my mother's uncle for many years. It started when I was about 5 or 6 years old and continued on a regular basis until I was about 13 years old .
    Did it contribute to my being bisexual, I honestly don't know for sure but I tend to think not.
    If the abuse never happened maybe I could have come to terms with my bisexuality at a much younger age but I'll never know for sure .
     
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  5. JaymzR1968

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    I am truly sorry this happened to you - something I would not wish upon anybody (well, this will sound petty and crass - but maybe I would wish it upon those who feel the need to try and destroy a child’s life by doing this to them - and I honestly believe if they end up in prison, then they’ll learn the hard way). Ok. Back to the higher ground - I think for those of us who are able to benefit form counseling etc. and can live and otherwise healthy life (mentally and physically) that traumas such as this would not contribute to our sexuality, as we know the pain and torment that we had to live with for years because of it, and such a negative experience should play absolutely zero role in an amazing and positive aspect of their “whole self” like a person’s sexuality. I have fortunately been able to, with help and hard work, keep that singular trauma away from the parts of my life I enjoy and love about myself. Its difficult - but it can be done. 1-in-6 is not just a statistic. It’s something that has helped me very much in this journey to become me and rather a victim of a predator.
    Peace and love to you my friends ✌❤️
     
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  6. TrevinMichael

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    It is hard to say I have had similar situations as a child. I do not feel the abuse made me different, but I do feel I was effected by the abuse. We like who we like. And we live our life to the best of our ability.

    Sometimes what is needed is loving people around us no matter what their gender or orientation. I tend to think we are all just human with different ways of being sexual. There are many ways to look at things.
     
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  7. JaymzR1968

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    I couldn’t agree more - it did , and DOES, have an impact on my life and it’s those very same loving people I had in my life that finally made it possible to put it in the “space” (I refer to it as a “tiny little box where it only gets the energy it deserves” i.e. none. Which is also a fitting metaphor for where the individual who felt the need to do that to children is and hopefully will stay for a long long time.

    I am really just trying to convey the message that it didn’t play a roll in my sexuality, sexual preference, orientation, or attractions or whatever anybody wants to call it. That part of me is special and a part of me that I love and enjoy and share with special people...a trauma perpetrated by an evil sack of crap plays no role in my realization that I am gay the or the “evolution” of accepting that wonderful side of me. Completely separate and associated in no way whatsoever.
    I only hope others who have experienced a similar trauma can find their way through and come out on the other side the person who they know they are deep inside and that it can get better.
     
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  8. TrevinMichael

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    Humans were meant to be sexual just like all other animals. And we did not come with a instruction book.
    I believe we find what we need in the ways we need them. No one needs people or situations that are abusive and none of us ask for that.

    But we do need love or some kind of connection with other living things. How we find and receive this love is up to us.

    And when you think about it we have been told in many ways to show love and receive love. So others who do not agree with us need to just get over it and rethink the things they tell themselves. We are no different from anyone else. We are all created equal. Orientation does not make us less than in any way. I firmly believe this.

    I have been hurt and I have healed over most of it, sometimes I get triggered. For the most part life is good now and I have found what I needed. Many would not like some of my choices, but they are mine to make.
     
    #8 TrevinMichael, Oct 5, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2019