“When I am anxious, it is because I am living in the future. When I am depressed, it is because I am living in the past.” – Unknown author
So for years I have been sharing with others that I was molested as a young boy. Not just for the sake of divulging my personal business to the world, but primarily to help others. It almost became second nature to talk about it with someone who could identify with my story. From the outset, I felt it was very therapeutic to have meaningful discussions about it. After all, I had forgiven my accuser, even though she denied it ever happened, but truly I was all good. Well except for one small part, which came to my attention years later.
My innocence was stolen every summer from about the young age of 6, until I was about 9 years old. It was my secret to keep as instructed by my perpetrator, and I certainly obliged her until I was 24 years old. I recall speaking to a family member about it to gain some insight and advice on how to handle it. At that time I was so concerned about hurting her (yes the perpetrator), that I didn’t want to expose her. After all, I loved her (in a being victimized sort of way). So I took the advice, which was to forgive her, release it and move on with my life. Now the forgiving part was fairly easy, because I truly had no ill feelings towards her. The moving on part, not so much. It would not be until almost 20 years later that I began to really understand that not only did I not move on, but I couldn’t because I had never truly dealt with the real issues of what I experienced as a boy. I was stuck and it would take more than positive confessions for me to be free. What was key for me to understand in that period was I had not dealt with the devastating trauma and aftermath of my innocence being stolen. I had only dealt with what I understood, and what others were comfortable telling me, which was to forgive her and everything would be okay. Sadly everything was not okay. Quite the contrary actually. It was not until my second divorce that I begin to truly examine my proclivities, thoughts and choices that ultimately led me to the impetus of a breakthrough. I began by reading a book entitled, The Sexual Healing Journey, Wendy Maltz. I discovered so many things about boys that have been molested by an older girl or woman. From how we process the trauma, our thoughts about the opposite sex, how we may protect ourselves or build in distance in close relationships, our inability to authentically connect at times and a seemingly inherent gift to become emotionally distant at a moments notice. All this based on an abused mindset. Below are a few questions that I would ask myself.
Why did I think as I did?
Why did I feel bound, dirty, lewd and over sexualized?
Why was it so hard to control my thought life?
Does every man feel like this?
- Why is it so easy to disengage with people?
You see, I think so many of us victims of molestation spend endless years living in secret, due to the shame and embarrassment we feel, and we effectively begin to live a double life. A life full of secrets that I honestly believe are even a mystery to us at least initially, and are all typically based on fear, guilt and shame.
As I read through the book, I prayed, counseled and did some much-needed self-reflection. I began to understand, finally. Not only was I not crazy, deranged or some weird guy, but I was quite normal for someone who had been victimized as a child. Now the key was becoming whole in order to no longer allow my past to dictate my future. For me this meant coming to a profound revelation about my molestation.
That is as my title of suggest, is a “dark-dark” secret. The “first dark” represents what we typically know about this issue – that is, it is shameful (until we understand it’s not our fault), therefore it remains a secret, in the closet of our perplexed minds for decades or for some quite possibly a lifetime. A life that probably lacks meaningful intimacy, closeness and vulnerability. A life that can live in fear of repeating the act on someone else so everything is avoided, people included. It can become quite an erratic existence until you get a grip on what lies beneath the surface of your emotions. This requires coming to the ultimate truth of who you are at the time. That could very well be a person that smiles in public and cries in secret. One that projects confidence to the public, however lives a life of fear and intimidation. Or maybe someone who suffers from an addiction that shame won’t allow you to profess, even to your closest friend, spouse or life partner.
The “second dark” represents something much deeper and sinister, which is the secret of who you become and why as a result of molestation, without early intervention. If all you know is one thing your entire life, it’s almost impossible to see it another way. That becomes your new normal even if its is wrong, off base or unacceptable to society. These statements do not suggest that it’s okay to act impulsively on your feelings or make decisions without license, but more importantly it captures the complex layers of confusion that evolves when this type of victimization remains locked up, harboring in a swamp of delusion.
You see being molested took something away from me. It stole my ability to have pure and healthy thoughts (my innocence) as a child, therefore it shaped many of my decisions and actions as an adult, only with a victimized mindset. It wasn’t until several years ago that I identified the “second dark” as a lie, and a facade of my true self. Something that attached itself to me through the act of being molested and effectively intertwined into my psyche, thoughts and very actions as a man and past husband. I lived with it, accepted it as mine and simply thought this would be my struggle to bear for the rest of my life. I assumed that I would never truly be close to a woman and my most important relationships would be kept at a safe distance. I just did not know what being close really meant for me. I could teach it, read about it and help others feel comfortable working through the process, but as for me, not so.
I desperately needed to understand (from my soul and spirit) that I was created for purity, wholeness, wellness and with an ability to love intrinsically with openness and honesty, despite the molestation, yet I was far from that, because I had never honestly dealt with it. Just the normal surface stuff.
Ultimately the real me became the secret, even though I had professed the opposite my entire life.
I was trapped in a shell of disillusionment, tormented by images that projected a distorted view of who I truly was. So I have finally come to the conclusion that the “dark-dark” secret truly was me. The real me, afraid to stand up and say I am not a victim any longer. This argument was not with anyone, but myself. No one else in the world knew this but me. Hence, why it became my “dark-dark” secret.
I want to list a few steps on how this revelation came to me to leave you with some hope. They are as follows:
- Be true to yourself – Being honest with ourselves is one the hardest things to do, because this is a time to finally own what is truly ours.
- Listen and trust what you hear – Sometimes what we hear first is exactly what we need, but we become experts in doubt and distrusting our first thoughts.
- Step out in faith in the small things – Don’t try to conquer the world with your initial moves. Tackle confronting the lie you have lived with all this time versus confronting others.
- Realize that you are not your past – Don’t allow your past to define your future. Get counseling and surround yourself around people who speak truth and love in your life.
- Take your power back – There will always be naysayers in your life. Don’t indulge in conversations that lead to you explaining yourself so someone else. The moment you do that, you have given them power over you.
- Begin to live your life as an over-comer, not a victim – Victims are always making excuses for what and why they cannot do something. Begin to take ownership for you. Stop blaming others for what they did to you. Take control of your destiny by establishing new dreams and goals for yourself. Make each day a new day. A step closer to a better you!
8 thoughts on “Molestation, My Dark-Dark Secret of the Soul”
WOW, speechless again!! Words are unable to express how heart touching this post is. But I’ll try.
This post is food to the spirit! I’m blown away by how transparent you are. Your truths are encouraging and so inspiring. The words in this post (and previous posts) bring about positive actions, to take one from darkness to light. What I delight in your posts is that not only you share your personal authentic truths…. you leave food for thought. Encouragement to make a difference in one’s self, family, friends and/or community.
When you’re experience darkness:-( it’s like the biggest hug ever to read something like your post(s) to remind that the sun will come out again. Thank you, Hank, for every week sharing YOU with us!
As you end each post, “Keep pressing…” those two words how powerful and life changing they can be.
Hi Uniqq M,
Thank you again for the kind words. It has taken me years to get to this place. I wish that I could say it happened overnight, but it didn’t. I simply choose to share my truth, authenticall now. Nothing less, nothing more. My prayer is that it does what you shared. To
“encourage and inspire.” I appreciate your support!
Hello & God’s blessings, I was molested by a cousin starting at a young age repeatedly & he was also molesting some of my other cousins as well. There was one very disturbing episode when I was about 8, I was over visit my cousin, “his” sister, where I had to walk home one winter night and my aunt insisted my cousin (“he”) walk me home. I was adamant that I did not want him too but, she insisted( why she didn’t see my reactions to not wanting him to walk me home?) so, he came along and I was fearful. When we where out of sight he grabbed me by the hand and forcefully pulled me into an area where we would be out of view. In the snow he forced me to pull down my pants and he lay on top of me getting his jollies. There was no penetration but I knew it was still very wrong. He finished and left me there to collect myself. I ended up losing one of my snow boots and walked the rest of the way home one booted foot and 1 sock. I don’t quite remember the rest of that night but I got the courage days later, to tell my aunt what he did. She told me not to tell anyone and that she would handle it. I don’t think she did too much about it. I finally told my mother(that summer) and she tried to tell my dad who told her to leave it alone and not to make waves. My cousin eventually went to prison for raping someone yrs later. And my dad & sister had an incestuous relationship as we got into our early 30s. He wasn’t getting his way with her at one point so he tried to approach me in that manner and I got away from him. I am of a strong mind and will but that had me VERY shook up.The relationship between my dad & sister continued for several more years off & on, but not anymore. She is all messed up(mentally) and my dad is still into pornography at 77yrs old. I am the oldest of 5 girls and we are all aware of this thing that has gone on with our dad & sister. I also believe my mother has some idea of what has gone on because I told her what my dad had tried with me and that he had an unnatural affection for my sister. Also, my sister has told other people about this, so in the small town that we live (I no longer live in that state nor do my youngest sisters) in, the gossip spreads. My mother has anger issues towards my sister as she sees, when my sister goes over to her house how my dad acts towards her. So, when my sister gets upset about how our mother reacts towards her I just tell her (and maybe it is wrong of me to be so callous sounding) that our mother has a right to her feelings about it because she is not stupid and she sees how our dad behaves around you and that my sister would do better to just stay away from there. I get angry with my sister for laying full blame all on my dad and counting herself the victim, reason being, because, I witnessed her flirting and drinking with my dad. I also witnessed her showing off(modeling) her new “cute” little outfits to him asking, “how do I look” ? I also saw her bend right over at the waist in these short, short, shorts w / no underwear on the way it all looked to me. When I recant these things to her, she gets very angry w / me when she’s trying to say my dad’s all at fault ( he gave her money to sleep with him) because he knew she needed the money. So she slept w / her own father and for money ????? I know my dad is totally wrong but, it appears to me, that my sister was a willing participant. I am aware that her conscience is eating her up. I apologize for going off the beaten track but the story led into this. My dad is the major player in this ugly subject he’s been into pornography since I can remember, I know because, starting at the age of 10 I used to sneek into his things when I had the opportunity, to look at his books( I knew it was wrong. I had a very strong curiosity), I wish that I had never ever looked at that garbage now because I am a Christian, and satan knows what I did, so when I least expect it those horrible images and thoughts of past reading of those words of ROT pop into my head. I feel my sister was wrong to go along with it. Those are my feelings on all of this. I thank God for all He’s done in my life and I continue to pray for my family. For healing and Salvation of which my dad & sister are in desperate need. Please keep us in prayer. Thank You
Hi Teri, It truly is comments like yours that help me to remain focused on my mission for this blog, which truly is to build a community of people that dare to be explicitly honest about the downsides of their lives, but knowing it doesn’t end there. Thank you so much for sharing!
What you experienced in your family was horrendous, and it’s truly by the grace of God that you aren’t in a mental institution. I would ask, have you or any of your family members been to counseling? Even if they choose not to, it would be a good idea if you could talk to someoone about what happened and how it affects you today.
For a father and daughter to develop an incestuous relationship at that age requires two consenting adults. However sick or demented it may be, there’s not much you can do about that because they are both adults. I believe what’s important in all circumstances is not to remain or become a victim to past or present situations. This means you state your your truth, distance yourself from the drama (even family if necessary), get professional counseling when feasible and continue to get healthy. I realize these steps aren’t as easy as one, two three, however they are essential for us to get better. After I read the book that I listed in my blog, it allowed me to see some of the steps I was taking as a victim of molestation, that were counter-productive to getting healthier. Sometimes we don’t know what we don’t know.
Lastly, I will pray for you and your family. Check out my post about forgiveness. This may also help with your release of what you carry about your sister and father.
Thank you for your input Hank. I have had issues with alcoholism not only because it runs in my family but because that’s how I dealt with my problems. It proved to be very destructive because I had serious anger issues and have in the past, been very self-destructive, suicidal thoughts and severe depression. I have been extremely promiscuous . Years later at 52 and married to a good man(14 yrs. together). Him being a loving, affectionate, family man with a Christian upbringing, he had to lead me away from the destruction and violence of my past. Our marriage has come a long way because I really didn’t know how to be in a normal relationship. I was very codependent, as I grew up in a violent household and that was how I ended up, repeatedly, in violent relationships. My daughter followed in my footsteps because for most of her growing up years she witnessed that. By the grace of God I had the presence of mind to make amends with my daughter because of my desire to have a good relationship with her knowing she needed that from me as well. I still have bouts with alcohol & bursts of anger probably related to the alcohol but, these things are very few a far in between. I have a good paying job and have been at this job for almost 9 years. We own a home and bought our truck new a little over a year ago. And purchased another property a year ago in June. All will be paid off in less than 5 years. We attend church regularly and I take every opportunity to be around like minded people referring to; being of sound mind, intelligent, sober, godly people. As of recent, my sister turned herself into an inpatient alcohol rehabilitation treatment facility and so far after 3 weeks, she is still there and I hear she is doing better. I have been keeping her in prayer and asking others to keep her in prayer. I know that I know, God is to thank for all that I have in my life these days. I know life will never be perfect & for the most part, I am pretty happy & content. I have all the things I could ever want or need in my life with my family(my daughter and 2 grandkids) being 4 lots down(the recent property we purchased)from our home. Now, I just need to put the alcohol completely out of my life and that is in the works. I am glad to have stumbled onto your site Hank because just this discussion between you & I is therapeutic. Take Care & God’s blessings to you and the work you are doing right here. Sincerely, Teri : }
Thank you for your input Hank. I have had issues with alcoholism not only because it runs in my family but because that’s how I dealt with my problems. It proved to be very destructive because I had serious anger/rage issues and have, in the past, been very self-destructive, suicidal thoughts and severe depression. I have been extremely promiscuous. Years later at 52, I am married to a good man(14 yrs. together). Him being a loving, affectionate, hardworking, family man with a Christian upbringing, he had to lead me away from the destruction and violence of my past. Our marriage has come a long way because, I really didn’t know how to be in a normal relationship. I was very co-dependent, as I grew up in a violent household and that was how I ended up, repeatedly, in violent relationships. My daughter followed in my footsteps because for most of her growing up years she witnessed that. By the grace of God I had the presence of mind to make amends with my daughter because of my desire to have a good relationship with her knowing she needed that from me as well. I still have bouts with alcohol & bursts of anger probably related to the alcohol, however they are very few and far in between. I have a good paying job and have been at this job for almost 9 years. We own a home and bought our truck new a little over a year ago. And purchased another property a year ago in June. All will be paid off in less than 5 years. We attend church regularly and I take every opportunity to be around like minded people. Referring to them being of sound mind, intelligent, sober, godly people. As of recent, my sister turned herself into an inpatient alcohol rehabilitation treatment facility and so far after 3 weeks, she is still there and I hear she is doing better. I have been keeping her in prayer and asking others to keep her in prayer. I know that I know, God is to thank for all that I have in my life these days. I know life will never be perfect, but for the most part, I am pretty happy & content. I have all the things I could ever want or need in my life with my family(my daughter and 2 grandkids) being 4 lots down(the recent property we purchased)from our home. Now, I just need to put the alcohol completely out of my life and that is in the works. I am glad to have stumbled onto your site Hank because just this discussion between you & I is therapeutic. Take Care & God’s blessings to you and the work you are doing right here. Sincerely, Teri : }
Hi Teri, it’s a pleasure to hear from you again. We have all found ways to drown out the noise due to the pain we have experienced in our lives. Whether being a victim of molestation or some other form of abuse, the action to counter it is usually destructive because initially we simply don’t know any better. I am happy that you have someone in your life that accepts you, loves you and helps you to become a better person. That truly is God’s grace. Although our lives will never be perfect, know that God perfectly has us in His arms. We learn each day to be stronger and authentic. I am happy to hear about your sister. I will continue to pray for her recovery. Enjoy the blessing of family and goodness that you have. It’s important! Thank you for stopping by again. I pray God’s best for you Teri!
: D God bless you. Teri