Hurt, Healing and Hope @Together_WeHeal #childabuse #survivors
Please welcome again David Pittman from Together We Heal. This is his latest article.
Why me? What have I done to deserve this?
When dealing with issues of pain from childhood sexual abuse, people handle it in different ways; being a man I can only tell you the struggles a boy and man goes though. Initially the greatest struggle was just in finding a resource for help to work through the psychological and emotional trauma. With most abuse happening to women, it only goes to reason that the majority of available support is directed toward them. But it is out there, you might have to look a little harder for it but its there…thus the increase in groups like “Together We Heal” and “SNAP”. But once found, the next steps can be even more challenging.
If the abuse occurs as a young boy and at the hands of a man, you struggle with the confusion of being aroused. While we may learn that physiologically there is virtually no way to stop an erection and even ejaculation, it does not diminish the damage done. As a boy or man you begin to question your sexuality. How could I have been aroused by this disgusting act? When you combine this with the still long-held homophobic rhetoric voiced by so many, the confusion gets compounded and magnified. For myself, I “proved” my sexuality throughout college by having sex with as many women as I could. While this bolstered my ego, and reputation with the guys, all it really did was hurt many of the girls and further hinder my ability to get at the root of my own pain.
When having promiscuous sex was not enough to keep my hurt and pain deep down enough in my psyche, I turned to drugs. With drugs, I could numb myself to the point where I not only didn’t feel any pain, I didn’t feel anything, except the high of the particular narcotic of the day. But as any addict will tell you, the more you do, the more you have to do to try to get the same level of high. The only problem is you never do get that again. So at this point I was simply doing as much as I could until I would pass out, coming close to overdosing on several occasions and eventually getting locked up twice and spending a month in jail for a conviction of drug possession. It was the best thing that could have happened and quite probably saved my life. In having my freedom taken away, I realized finally where my life was headed if I didn’t stop taking drugs and so I went to NA and got the help I needed to get clean..and have remained so for seven years now.
Once I got clean I had a whole new problem…I had to finally face all of these painful emotions without any filters, without any buffers…I had to face life on life’s terms…and life, for most of us, isn’t kind and isn’t nice. It’s hard, and when you aren’t tough emotionally or mentally, you don’t handle this easily. It was only with the support of an amazing family and equally incredible friends that I have been able to process this pain and conflict and be able to finally stand on my own two feet again..now with a clean mind and body.
This doesn’t mean that I am not still haunted daily by the memories of molestation, it just means that now I have the tools to handle this battle. Frederick Douglass was quoted as saying, “it’s easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” This has been true in my life. The damage done by my abuser, Frankie Wiley, was so terrible, that the positive done to build me up the first 12 yrs. of my life, he destroyed in just 2, and it’s taken 30 to just BEGIN to get my life back on the right track. Due to this derailing of my youth, I now have fewer years left on this earth to do what my creator intended for me. So I am going to spend what time I have left to do my best to 1) prevent what happened to me from happening from other children and 2) help other survivors get to the place of healing that I am now at and even further.
This is my hope. And by that word I don’t mean what I wish for to happen, I mean it’s what I know, count on and expect to happen…the original meaning of the word hope. Look it up. I have hope to help others, I have hope that they will heal, I have hope to protect children…I now have a future that was once denied me due to a sexual predator. And you too can have this hope, this expectation, this new future…just reach out and you will find us here for you.