James - my story
For Female Survivors, Male Survivors
I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse I would like you to here a brief history of my life experiences and me.
My name is James
My abuse started at the age of nine by my paternal grandfather who I believe hated me he raped me on many occasions. I was also abused separately by a male cousin five years my senior, funny but writing this it’s just struck me they are both named Robin my cousin being named after my grandfather. I don’t know if each off them was aware what the other was doing but up until the age of fourteen I was being raped or made to perform some perverted sexual act at least once a week.
As with all abuse survivors I believed that it was something that I had done to cause this to happen to me I was being punished for something even though the tolled me they loved me, actually they saw a vulnerable child and used my body for self gratification wile destroying my inner self, my mind, my childhood my future, my relationships, my chance of being a normal happy functioning adult. I could go on and on.
At the age of fourteen I used my rage and anger to stop my abuse by physically beating up my abusers and what a powerful day that was for me I felt so strong I was invincible I had taken control, this is never going to happen to me again. I took my abuse and childhood memories and locked them in a box and put them into the furthest recesses of my mind, never to be opened or seen again. But I was left angry really angry, guilty which left me angry I was full of rage and I used this rage to further my career as a bouncer, barman, and public house owner, you see my anger made me invincible and the abuse gave me such low self esteem that I didn’t care whether I lived or died. I worked in some of the roughest public houses in Glasgow and else were I couldn’t wait until there was trouble I’d be in there fighting like a maniac inflicting as much pain as I physically could, giving out punishment and receiving punishment with relish. This continued for many years and resulted in me being shot at and stabbed on a couple of occasions I was lucky they weren’t serious and I don’t have a criminal record.
I’ve met hundreds of women in my line of work and bedded a lot of them, but never any I actually liked you see I used them for sex nothing else they meant nothing to me, as far as I was concerned they were scum. Sex for me was something you used to punish someone, for getting my own back so I never related it with love, women who wanted to have sex with me in my mind wanted to punish me so I would punish them by being in control while having sex with them crazy or what. Until my late thirties when I met Margaret the woman I love and subsequently married, I thought I was ok until we tried to have a more intimate relationship you see I didn’t want to punish her I wanted to love her like a normal man but I couldn’t because of the love I felt for her has caused a box in my head to open, one that I wished would never open my abuse rushed forth and hit me like a sledge hammer and I was no longer the man for the first time since I was fourteen I felt scarred, uncontrollable fear I didn’t know what was going on I was in such physical pain, I was having flash backs I felt so guilty, because I am a typical Glaswegian man I can deal with any thing, throw your crap at me and I’ll take it shake it and throw it back at you a whimpering shadow of it’s former self because I AM A MAN I don’t cry or show emotion, not any longer I was the whimpering shadow of my former self Margaret gave me an ultimatum we will get you help or a coffin.
I approached my GP and was lucky he was understanding and supportive and directed me to Thrive were I have received one to one therapy for two years which gave me the tools and confidence I needed for my road to recovery. Jane my councillor helped me realise it was not my fault im am not to blame for there sickness I couldn’t control what was happening I was nine. Jane listened and taught me how to connect with my real emotions for which I am eternally grateful but group therapy provided by Thrive is were I have come into my own, there Christine and Steven our councillors are honest we are allowed to travel along our roads to recovery at our own pace we are safe. There is no time limit on our recovery so we are under no pressure but being able to talk about your abuse with a group of men who know how you feel who are each travailing there own journey but so often intertwines with your is so uplifting Because of thrive, my wife and the group of men I live and breath today and I allow my self to be the real me. Listen five years of abuse forty years of therapy, so may be it will take 40 years but because of Thrive I look forward to every day the up’s and the down every day is for living with the tears the memories good and bad and the laughter. We men in the group have come so far that we are in the process of starting our own charity for non offending male survivors of childhood sexual abuse which is no easy task and is full of emotion because the subject is so close to our hearts as we are all survivors but Thrive (Christine & Steven) has enabled us to start taking our power back. My journey is along rocky road but bring it on. I am a real man
I am writing this through tears of sadness for the childhood I’ve lost and joy for how far I’ve travelled on my journey.
(James wrote to SECASA after attending one of Mike Lew’s workshops in the UK and watching the Back on Track DVD.)