Saturday, 12 March 2016

Learning To Enjoy The Silence.. via @DylanP1977 #childabuse #DV #Survivor

I would like to introduce you to Dylan Prosser. We became acquainted about a year ago and we have a lot in common.

I have never been very lucky in life. I have had my chances and blew most of them for one reason or another. I was abused as a child, sexually and otherwise for a number of years. My life would appear to have been shaped by those years. My choices silently influenced by the echoes from the past.

I will neither bore nor attempt to shock you with details of what happened to me as a child.

In my teens I was confused about my sexuality. The abuse had stopped but I was vulnerable. Twice before my seventeenth birthday I was raped by individuals I had put trust in. I had a number of girlfriends but it never really felt right. I found men much more interesting. They seemed to find me interesting too. 

I had left home at sixteen to go onto further education. In college I was the youngest by two years. The oldest student was twice my age. I was in a three year course broken into two modules. Two years of standard training and a final year of advanced principles. During the last term of the first year one of the older guys took me out for a few drinks. We had become quite good friends and I trusted him. Later that night he sexually assaulted me. I was in shock at the time. I had been raped four years earlier by a family friend and that had been totally unconnected to the childhood trauma. I thought at almost seventeen that it was safe to trust again. I was wrong. A year later I found myself selling myself to the same guy in order to pay for food and other essentials.

A family tragedy led to my dropping out of education.  I was eighteen and living where I could. Life was miserable.

I moved away from the area and finally found work. I was still very confused inside though I tried my best to hide my mixed up feelings. I didn't have the confidence to just allow myself to be me. I got friendly with a woman at work. She made me feel safe and was a few years older than me. Despite my inner reservations and those of friends, we married. About a year later the subject of children arose. I wanted to be a father. I then found out that she had been sterilised and did not want more children. I knew nothing about this. I was completely floored. She had been a victim of domestic violence and already had two children. We split up a few months later for a while, got back together, then finally separated after three years of marriage.

We had moved near the city so I took an apartment near the centre. I was earning good money and felt able for the first time to be myself. I took the plunge and announced to the world that I was gay. After a few months I met a guy who later became my partner for nine years. He seemed okay. He was older by a few years and had all the experience I lacked. I looked up to him. During those nine years I was treated like a man servant much of the time. He was lazy, opinionated and thought menial work was above him. After a few years I discovered he was an accomplished liar and a cheat. I had been too trusting again. We split for a year. He kept promising to change and I took him back. The lies had not stopped, I was treated badly. He was verbally and emotionally cruel. He was colder than a marble statue and mocked me in front of his friends. He did not see his behaviour as wrong though many friends told him he was being cruel in various ways. During those years I went from being a muscular, athletic healthy man to a blob, a shadow.  Four more years passed before I finally escaped. 

I met another woman I thought I could trust. I had known her many years before and I really thought she was safe. I jumped back into the closet and we married. She knew all about my past, I thought I knew all about hers. We were married for over a decade. During those years I became the victim of full scale domestic abuse. The sex was lacklustre. Her emotions too intense. She blamed me for all that she saw was wrong with the world. She became ill during our time together and I too was blamed for that. She controlled everything about my life. She would explode if I buttered the toast the wrong way, or if I was more than ten minutes late from work etc. She decided who my friends were, what I wore, what money I spent and so many other things. I lived in fear much of the time though we did also have some good times together. The last year of living as husband and wife was hell. I was stabbed, pushed downstairs, scratched poked and punched. I never retaliated. She tried to emasculate me, to rob me of my pride and dignity.

Many of you may be asking yourself why I remained in these relationships. Why would a man allow himself to be treated and used in these ways. Many ask the same about boys and men who are sexually abused. "Surely a male is strong enough to resist, to run, to fight back?" etc etc

In my case the answer was self worth. I had none. I did not believe I was good enough for happiness so I always ended up in bad relationships. I was just someone to be used and taken advantage of.

During the last years of the marriage I went into therapy. I also secretly made friends online and tried to build up my confidence and trust. I learnt to believe in myself, that I was worthy of love, happiness, peace and security. One friend in particular I continually found myself drawn to. The friendship had been there for over three years. Not a close friendship, we had never met. I trusted him and he seemed to trust me. Months went by when I deliberately did not chat with him. Something about him felt so good it scared me. We eventually started chatting more and more and sharing aspects of our lives. I felt as if I had met a soul mate. I didn't really know him from Adam but over a couple of months we grew closer and closer. He seemed to feel what I was feeling. We shared much  in common, had similar ideals. I started flirting and he responded, even encouraging me. I feared that I really was falling in love, too fast and falling completely out of control. No one had made me feel the way he did. I don't think I had ever really been in love before. I did a few stupid things back then, he did a few himself.

We decided to meet in order to see if what we felt was real. I tend to be very emotional. I enjoyed being in love. I enjoyed feeling good about myself. He was kind, considerate and did not just leap in as I did. He asked for time to let things develop. They did. He had experienced much of what I had in life. Though I feared that two people with abusive pasts might not be the best way forward it did work. I suggested we meet for a coffee and a face to face chat. Maybe a few hours as he was headed in my direction to see a friend of his. He said more time would be better. I told him I loved him, his response was "love waits here for you". No pressure, no expectations. I arranged a weekend away, two nights in a luxury hotel near Coventry. He did say he might not be able to stay both nights but he would try. I hoped he would. The day we met was bright and sunny. He had been upset by a family member the night before and was feeling very low. I hoped to be able to lift his spirits. He was late driving down from Edinburgh but I waited, fearing he might not even show up. He did arrive and when I first saw him I held my breath. Shivers ran through my body. He was amazing. I had the strongest sense of Deja vu.

That was a very special day. He did only stay the one night but I know he regretted it afterwards.

Weeks turned into months. We met more and more often. I was insecure as I could not believe that I had finally found "the one". I was absolutely and totally in love. I trusted him with my body, my heart and my life. I still do. 

He has taught me that life can be good. I have learnt many lessons since we met. I think I am too soppy for him at times as he does struggle with expressing love but we get by. I am happy (though my insecurities can run riot at times) and I think he is too. Maybe in time he will learn to trust me enough in order to relax enough with his own emotions. We are both victims of abusive past relationships and childhoods after all. He really is amazing. Light shines from him, at least I believe it does. He is the sweetest, kindest and most considerate person I have ever known. He is also, to me at least, handsome and sexy. He makes me feel like a "real man". He manages to bring out the magic in me. We are one. He is nothing like the person a certain ex describes him as. 

I hope that by writing this and having it published I can finally lay some of the ghosts of my past to rest. I have no need for them and they often only seem to harm me in some way or another. In harming me they also affect those around me. 

So here I am. What is the point of this guest blog post you may ask. That is easy..

Believe in yourself, trust in yourself, have faith that not everyone in life has an agenda. There are good people out there and above all always remember that without hope, we have nothing. 

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