“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!