I Don’t Need Time Travel To Establish My Worth

The past several months have been very intense and painful for me due to the healing work that my process has provoked all throughout the holidays, my birthday and then hitting the one year anniversary of confronting my abusive ex-family. It’s brought a lot of changes for my life that I’m still exploring today, and a lot of newly uncovered memories that if they weren’t true wouldn’t be changing my life for the better. Up until just recently, my mind still strayed back to critical points in my young life–particularly when I was 16-19 years old, and imagining scenarios in which I could drastically change things and break free from my abusive family much earlier. This imagination-fueled yearning was something I experienced not because I had never heard the statement “you can’t change the past” that is pasted over a thousand different facebook memes. Pat phrases like that rarely have the ability to touch deeply into complex trauma even when we all nod our heads in agreement.

I’m very glad I wrote those letters confronting my family of origin last year and every specific thing I wrote in them at the time was such an important part of my process, and I regret nothing about them. But there are many things I couldn’t say at the time, things I wasn’t ready to face. Particularly to my older brother, who took the skills for grooming and manipulation that he learned from our mother and added in his own monstrous sociopathic talent. He left me second guessing myself for the longest time, hurtling back and forth between different emotions–while he was still in my life it was whether I liked or hated him. But in more recent years I’ve felt some internal push to see him as more of a fellow victim when in fact no, he was one of my main abusers. I know that regardless of the fact that we were abused by the same people, he targeted me in a malicious, personal way for a very long time and all I need putting him into context is to listen to my own emotions, not imagine what the outside world might think.

A few weeks ago I had a dream where I was back at college. I dreaded going home, because I knew that when I did my older brother would rape me again. I wanted badly to tell a friend of mine who worked as a waitress at a restaurant downtown. While I ate my lunch she kept hovering around my table, sometimes sitting down for a minute; I so badly wanted to tell her what was bothering me, but it was difficult to say and as I tried she just rolled her eyes, handed me my bill and walked away. I went to the counseling center on campus, and they told me I would be seen, but then just left me in the waiting room for hours until I knocked on the door and found that no one was there. I woke up in a flashback, almost hyperventilating and thinking up all these schemes as to how I could escape, all on my own of course because there was no help and I was gagged.

Of course I never went back home after going away to college, I never saw my parents again and only had one encounter with my brother that lasted a few seconds. But I still lived with that entirely unconscious fear and with the consequences of what he did to me. Because even when I was 18 or 19 and living at home, my brother still sexually abused me whenever he wanted to. I remember him coming into my bedroom, and turning the vacuum on to muffle the noise while he forced me. He had trained me over many years to go along with whatever he did to me, and of course I made myself forget immediately afterwards. He couldn’t care less just how much he was taking from me or how long the consequences would last.

I realized a few weeks ago that in my fantasies about changing the past my focus has always been on my own actions, and what I did. But as a teenager living at home in the clutches of my abusive family, was I really in control of my life and it’s circumstances? I see now that if my mind strays into that territory, why don’t I think of what they could have done differently? What if they didn’t yell at and mock me, what if they didn’t sexually abuse me, even at that age? If I’m focusing entirely on my reaction to that abuse, and wishing it to be different in ultimately impossible ways, then I’m not holding them responsible for their actions, but still seeing it all as my fault. What I see is at the time people had power over me which they freely exerted while I had none over them. Whether it is the power of my brother’s violence, my parents financial sway or my older sister’s hypercritical mind-control, the differential was absolutely still there, and while I couldn’t change the way I reacted all by myself, I see that it would have been much easier for them to stop doing abusive things to me.

I remember telling my older sister that I had been trying so hard to leave home, while she screeched back “You didn’t try hard enough!!” Her condescending attack was not cognizant of reality, or my reality. In one of our conversations that same year I mentioned how my brother was drinking beer at home all the time, just like our mother. “I’m sure his life is really hard! I think he’s doing everything he can, but I don’t think you are…” she said to me, using my comment as a jumping point to launch into a long hypercritical diatribe. Of course in our sick little family, helmed by alcoholics, there was nothing wrong with drinking and traumatizing other people while drunk, but my sister was sure that I deserved to be personally attacked for speaking scornfully about it. She tried the same thing when I correctly labeled our grandmother as an alcoholic. But it was without a doubt to her that my brother working in construction, getting drunk and raping me all the time was great, while my going to college full time, not drinking or abusing anyone was not. It reminds me of my mother exclaiming to me years later “how dare you judge your brother!” These words were toxic and they hit me hard. They told me that my abuser was worth defending, while I was not.

But I couldn’t care less about how “hard” his life was, and I deserve to feel the way I do and did about him. When he continuously moved in and out of our parents house, he resumed abusing me and harming my psychological health in a profound way. It didn’t depend on what job he was working at the time or what controlled substances he was binging on, though he liked to take out his anger for his own life circumstances on me. As the youngest in the family and the scapegoat, it was always made clear to me that I was responsible for their life outcomes and their emotions, while they were never responsible for mine; when the reality of course was the opposite. My brother’s sexual abuse didn’t end when we were children, it didn’t end when he got a girlfriend, it didn’t end when I turned 18. Like with my mother, it only really ended when I left home and he could no longer treat my body as a quick way to get off.

For a long time, I did not think of what the people who actually made the deciding moves in my life back then could have done differently. And I know certainly that my family didn’t think that way about themselves either; by putting it all on myself, I was agreeing with them that I “should have” made changes which frankly would have to have been supernatural even without my conceiving of time travel to achieve them today. If anything, my parents thought that if they had been more abusive then they would have achieved their aims, i.e. goals and end-points which were not what I wanted or who I am.  I know my mother was fond of beginning sentences with “IF ONLY you had….” But of course she didn’t apply these to herself, she didn’t think “If only I hadn’t sexually abused my sons,” my brother didn’t think “If only I hadn’t pinned Caden’s arm behind his back and fucked him…”

Understanding that I was still being abused, that I still had to dissociate and repress things that were happening in my day-to-day life has destroyed any idealizations I was harboring for my life and it’s possibilities in those times-gone.   Yet with that my feeling of loss has actually managed to lessen.  Even as I’m horrified that my brother abused me at a later age, this truth has also opened up new space for me to breathe. My self-blame has been chiseled further away.  I know that I never really understood what terms like self-love and self-validation meant until I experienced them, and that’s o.k. That fact is one of the many reasons why I don’t believe in moralizing or putting certain words on a pedestal as if they can heal all on their own. In my life I did the only thing I could have done to protect myself, which was leave, and I did it as soon as I could. So even if time travel existed, I would still have been as powerless and powerful as I was and am, then and today.

But I’m good enough even if I didn’t succeed or realize my social, romantic or professional goals as a teenager or twenty-something; I’m good enough if all I did was survive those painful years and get away with as much of myself as possible.  I’m good enough even if my ex-family doesn’t agree. Despite my mother’s admonitions, today I am proud to be a daring person, I do dare to speak out, to confront and put the blame where it truly belongs. I dare to change, to enter new territory inside myself and become even more unlike the people I’ve left behind.

About proudlysensitive

Gay male survivor of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.
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29 Responses to I Don’t Need Time Travel To Establish My Worth

  1. Yes, you ARE good enough; more than good, in fact! Any parent would be proud to have you as a son; any sibling proud to have you as a brother! Like me, it’s just unfortunate that you were surrounded by people who are so narcissistic and lacking in morals, empathy, and compassion.
    But you’re not surrounded by them any longer, because you had the strength and wherewithal to get yourself out of that mess. Having been there too, I salute you, sir!

    “Self-love” and “self-validation” are things I struggle with daily. When you are abused and blamed so often as a child, by the ones meant to be protecting and loving you, it’s really, really difficult to not only let go of those negative reinforcers and conditioning, but also it’s tough to even like yourself!

    These abusers are damaged, some beyond redemption, the blame rests squarely on their shoulders; they didn’t try to get help, or even acknowledge your pain, they were too selfish to think about you, only of themselves. For the rest of your life, it’s your time to be selfish, it’s your turn to do as you please, which I know will be tempered by the compassion most abused children learn because of their traumatic experiences. Some people never learn, though, and they go on to perpetuate even worse abuses against those they are meant to love and protect. It’s a vicious cycle, and they are stuck in it, but you are not, and you never will be that sort of person, because your wairua (spirit) is so pure and filled with light, even when you’ve felt consumed by darkness, believe me, this is true because I feel your wairua so strongly through your powerful writing! Congratulations, Caden, you have had the strength to break that cycle!

    • Thank you, I really appreciate your reading and kind solidarity. It is really difficult to get past those decades of conditioning in abusive families that tell us were worthless. But your wise words about being selfish are so true, because we deserve all the time it takes to approach ourselves with more loving arms. It is so great to not be stuck in that cycle the abusers are in.

      take care and thank you for being here,
      -Caden.

  2. MJ says:

    Oh, I’d say you are far more than good enough. You are superlative.

  3. Hi Caden
    You are good enough! Period. You are so much more than good enough. You are amazing! period. no qualification needed.
    I wrote a long comment and it didn’t go through. It was a good one too.. LOL

    I love the way your work shows the ‘thinking process’ we go through. Your writing is a reflection for me of the way I do this too, the way that I go back and forth about the truth; the b.s.truth that they told me and convinced me was right, and the actual truth that the perpetrators of any kind of abuse will do anything to deflect the blame onto the victim of their crimes, and they all stick together. (likely from sheer fear of becoming the one abused! Abusers are a pathetic bunch after all.) But as long as I stick with it, the real truth wins and sets me free and freedom the result of the hard work.

    p.s. when someone takes measures not to get caught (ie; turns on the vacuum cleaner to muffle the sounds) that is a very clear indication that he KNOWS what he is doing is wrong. Even in a house full of perps, he knew it was wrong. Even if he was abused too, that is not an excuse because if he didn’t know ~ there would be nothing to hide. Those are the things that I bring up today and I find them such a great comfort to myself. I was never sexually abused in public. I was never beaten with a belt or a hairbrush in public either. Even most verbal abuse was very different in public. I find that interesting on so many levels. :)

    hugs, Darlene

    • Thank you so much for your reading and feedback and sharing Darlene, it’s true that the abusers stick together in a desperate attempt to keep their pathetic little house of cards from collapsing onto them. But I’m glad we have a great survivor community too where we can support and find solidarity and common experience with each other. I agree with you, at the end of the process, of going back and forth, sorting through and discarding the lies, at the end of those long days there is freedom, and it’s great.

      And you’re totally right, when even despite the other creepy things going on in that house, my brother turned on that vacuum cleaner or waited until my parents left the house, it shows how he knew what he was doing was wrong. His actions in many of these cases also show that he really wanted me to feel that I was isolated, alone with only him. A lot of his verbal abuse when we were children revolved around “you think you’re safe because of who’s in the next room? well you’re not, because I own you and they’ll never believe you over me.” But I don’t care today if their incredibly small and ugly world was built around him, because that’s not my world, not the one I live in. There are and were better people out there, and that is why, indeed, they knew not to be as abusive in certain situations and around certain people.

      take care,
      -Caden

  4. Ginnie says:

    I can’t begin to tell you how validating and inspiring this piece is for me, or how much your story echoes my own.

    I started telling my own story on a blog last year, but abandoned it after I dug a little deeper than I was ready to at the time, and ended up feeling almost eviscerated….

  5. Ginnie says:

    I think it’s the cruelest irony that when I break through into moments of real self-love and self-validation, they’re quickly contaminated by the sting of realizing how long I’ve lived without it, and how much harder I’ve had to work for it than so many who take it for granted. (Which usually leads right into a dissociative state because I hate feeling bitter or jealous of people who weren’t abused.)

    Loving myself brings with it the grief of loving that little girl who never had a chance to be innocent.
    I know she was brave, and strong enough to endure and survive, and it’s not hard to admire her for that, but loving her? It just hurts.

    • Thank you Ginnie. I know what you mean, the sting is often there, as that grieving is certainly part of the process–and usually it’s not all linear either, we have to go back and forth, realize things on a deeper level before it sticks. It’s difficult for our brains to actually heal from the damage caused by abuse, and if I feel bad about it today I try to remind myself of that, that it takes time because we’re also talking about a very physical process. it is very sad looking back over those lost years. But I wish you well in healing and sharing what you feel you’re ready to in the moment.

      take care,
      -Caden

  6. Karen R says:

    Wow Powerful words Caden.
    ” If I’m focusing entirely on my reaction to that abuse, and wishing it to be different in ultimately impossible ways, then I’m not holding them responsible for their actions, but still seeing it all as my fault”
    This hit a nerve. I have always looked back to my late teens and wished I had reacted better, made better choices. Still looking at myself as “the problem” like they taught me. Actually I had no choices. I was completely under their control and power. I was fighting for my rights (ha-ha) when I was thrown out with nothing at 18. Bad choices after that. More proof to them of my badness. I thank you for helping me untangle all the lies. At 60 its amazing that I wrote my NC letters only two years ago. Because of EFB and Darlene. But I have never before considered in truth that at 18 I had been kept naive, was never allowed decisions or choices, kept isolated with No One I could ask for help no matter what they did to me. Imagine if they had chosen to act differently. I have never considered that always looking at my
    deficits as they always pointed them out. Thank you for this article.

    • Thanks Karen, I’m so glad what I wrote could help you in any way to see that it wasn’t your fault. Being so isolated back at that age–because they wanted us to be isolated for their power to be absolute–did leave us with few choices. It’s ok to grieve for the past, for what we didn’t have, but it is very powerful to sympathize, empathize with who were back then as well. I wish you the best.

      take care and thanks for reading,
      -Caden.

  7. Mandy says:

    Caden, your writing, the telling of your history will never leave me less that struggling to breathe. You amaze me in that, as painful as your story is, I feel like you really know your truth. They did not destroy you, as would have been so easily accomplished. I know you must feel wrecked at times– all of us who have experienced abuse do and will till the end of time–but you never stop fighting. It’s so much easier for those who know of the abuse to deny it–so much easier to sacrifice a life for their own protection. Yes my dear dear person. You are most certainly good enough. Better than good enough. ;-)

    • Thank you so much for reading and leaving me these kind words Mandy. I have often felt destroyed, but yes, continuing to fight, to heal, daring to be vulnerable and publish words like this even if no one relates…it’s rewarding, and always worth it. It is easy for the deniers to keep on their path, but I’m so glad to be on mine, and not theirs.

      take care,
      -Caden

  8. I really appreciate all of your responses and validation about my being ‘good enough,’ it and my own words/work has really touched me right now. I always believed I might one day be good enough if I do x, or I might have been good enough if I had done x, but the idea that I might already be good enough, right now, as-is was never something I felt capable of even approaching before. It’s kind of mind-blowing, which is sad but true. But starting to look at myself in a different way anyhow.

    love,
    Caden.

  9. dearly says:

    Caden, I’m glad that we are all in the same vote. We escaped. We should be lucky. But, how lucky?

    I remembered how my father, mother, and brother abused me. I remember it like it was yesterday. My nightmares and dreams confirm this reality each week. My mother tried to drown me when I was younger. I was around 11 years old. She figured out that my father was feeling me up in the same bed where they slept. I had a routine of sleeping with my Mom and Dad each night because I was scared of the dark. My father had me beside him each night and eventually he started feeling me up and going a little further each time. My brother and I slept in our room together. I was leaving our room to go to my parent’s room. He eventually had to confess that he did sexual things to me too. So, I left one room to go to another room with the same issues. My brother would fight with me during the day and flirt with me also. It was quite bizarre. Right around the family too. Eventually, I faught back against all of the abusive family members.

    The day I fought back to my brother…Again, he had me chase him around the house in a cat and mouse game. He ran down to his bedroom in the basement and by the time I got down there to catch him…his bedroom door was open and he was on his bed in the dark. He whined for me to come in and “play” with him. I had an epiphany that moment! I suddenly realized that he had done this with me before. I went into the bedroom and felt out with my hand and could feel the hair on his body. He moaned. I screeched. I ran out and told him I couldn’t do this anymore. I cried and told him that this had to stop. He argued and whined. I ran away and he trapped me in the basement for hours. He put a chair in the door. He made me promise that I would not tell our parents. This epiphany was an important moment in my life. I value that moment. I remember the clear distinction between my youth and adulthood. That moment I was aware of myself and where I stood on these sexual abuses. I was not going to take it anymore. My brother was around 17/18 and I was around 9/10. This was my coming of age! It’s sad that it was not an overly innocent coming of age moment. Because, usually when you are coming of age you are not aware of the process. This is where you realize that this is what it feels like when your innocence is stolen. I became an adult so fast. But, more than an adult. I’m glad I can walk away from all of this and realize that if I had not become more intelligent and philosophical in my approach to escape this household it may have well swallowed me up. The only thing they can look back to in their life is a life of crime! Caden, we were not just lucky. We were smart enough and courageous enough to fight for what is right!

    I didn’t escape without a scratch. Once my mother found out that dad was feeling me up and she was not getting any action from him or me that is when and why she tried to drown me. She tried many times to try and get me to be sexual with her but, that’s when I began protesting. Eventually, our supper table was quiet or argumentative. They knew I had enough of these dirty games. They hated that I was smarter than them. They hated that I wouldn’t have to look back at a life of crime. I don’t feel sorry for them. They chose a path of illegal territory. They were always on the alert after I fought back and said no more sex with any of them. My friend’s Dad was a cop, so I visited there a lot. I hoped that my family would feel nervous if I planted this idea in their heads that I would tell the police. They would try and trump me and visit my friend’s parents from time to time. It’s sad that I had to play this adult game with my own family. I was around 10/11 years old. Creepy.

    I was definitely sexualized to early. But luckily, the friends that I made were nice to me when we had times that were innocent. I seemed to have at least attained some innocence while being subjected to all of that sexual abuse. I had a boyfriend through all of that too. He also was abused by his father. We had very wonderful walks through the snow in the woods in the winter time. He was a great guy. He still is a great man. I left town when I got older, so I don’t see him anymore. But, he was my first kiss, the first guy I held hands with, and the first guy that made love too me. I was 12 – 13 when fell deeper for each other. We were close friends since kindergarten. I knew that this was the real deal. This was innocent and we loved each other. He treated me with respect, love, and loyalty. A real loving relationship. Our relationship was less about sex than it was about love. We had loved each other long before we even were able to have sex together. This is why I tell straight people that even gay people can find love….long before they even hit puberty. Sex may be the only thing people think that defines the difference between straight and gay love. But, sex isn’t the only thing that defines the love between two people, gay or straight. In or out of a relationship.

    Clearly, my experience with sex was an eye opener. Sex between two people can be just sexual as I found out with my family. Sex between two people can be gay or straight sexual actions but not necessarily carried out by gay or straight people specifically. Straight people can have gay sex and gay people can have straight sex. All of that can be a positive experience. In our case, the experience was not so positive. But, through it all, I have no doubt in my mind that I am a gay man. I clearly know that I can make love to another man and love him for just him too. Something my family will never learn.

    We escaped their fantasy and found reality.

    This is interesting too. Those people that sexually abuse their own kids and continue this cycle are usually the same people that are avid church goers and protest gay people. And they are usually homophobic. Why? Many reasons. Usually because they think that if we all become more open about our conversation about sex that they will be caught! They will feel guilt. They won’t have fun anymore. They won’t be able to control others anymore. Truthfully, they just don’t want to stop fulfilling their fantasies of having sex that is dirty or risky in their eyes. You see, if you ask my brother if he was gay. He would say no. In the end, he doesn’t get the whole gay relationship thing, he just sees gay sex as something you do for fun. Hence, why our society keeps beating themselves over the head with this issue? A lot of people want to keep their gay sex acts to themselves so no one thinks they are gay? Odd. But that was my experience. That is why they project that idea onto us, gay people, and wonder, “Why do they just have gay sex and why would they want to present that openly and with the notion that it is more than just sex…a relationship between two men or two women.”

    My family was having more gay sex than me?! Their relationships were mainly focussed around a sick fantasy. And, in their eyes, gay sex acts are part of that fantasy. That’s why when I told my brother, in that final episode, that I was having a normal relationship with another guy he was shocked and confronted by his own inability to understand what he was doing to me, while he had a girl friend, to fulfill his own gay fantasy and what all that meant in his own world. I was lucky to escape and be kind enough to be my brother’s teacher. I gave him one last chance to redeem himself while he locked me in the basement. I made him listen to my deep sense of reality and told him I hope that whatever happened to him would not happen again and that he should stop trying to have sex with me. He opened the door and we never spoke much after that conversation. I was banking on the fact that my Mom and/or Dad had sex with him too. I was likely right. But, he won’t talk to me about that possibility. In fact, we don’t talk much at all.

    My parents tried to blame my Uncle for many years for any sexual abuse that my sister and me were becoming aware of through our daily nightmares. My sister and I were convinced for a while. She refuses to bring anything up now. She is still convinced my Uncle did bad things to us. I suspect she knows the truth and keeps it from me to protect me. We don’t talk much anymore. We spent two weeks at my Uncle’s place twice in our youth but I don’t remember him doing anything wrong to me. My Mom tried to use what she learned on talk shows to evade being caught. She tried to imply that maybe I had repressed those memories! Interesting how I don’t have memories of my Uncle being a bad person but I can see, hear, feel and, therefore remember in detail what my parents and brother did to me! And, these memories that involve my family are not false memories because they are engrained in my mind like most of my other experiences! They are true. Also, why would anybody make up these thoughts if it could ruin their idea of the ideal family? The truth sucks. But, I take meticulous care in not making up scenarios. I wish these memories were false. I wish my family was better behaved. They were not. So, instead of wishing for the impossible I have come to the conclusion that seeking happiness wherever you find it…is the goal…with or without your family. Seeking people that have healthy behavioural patterns is also worth your while! I literally look for people that are loving and caring. If not, I tell them that it has been a privilege for them to know me but now that privilege has expired.

    I don’t leave much to luck these days.

    We chose to leave this life behind and they chose to live that life…even when they had more option to stop then we did…I was the youngest in the family too.
    Something inside told us that this was wrong and we had to get away from the abuser.

    What inside was telling the abuser to continue and to pretend to be a normal family?

    Sorry this is long. But I felt compelled to connect to make you feel less alone and too make me feel less alone. I have met many survivors with the same or similar stories as us. Many of us are not believed and our own families that actually can be trusted leave us behind too. I have my partner, my friends and my dog. It seems that when your an child abuse victim, a male and gay you are treated to a triple whammy! Stereotype: #1 As a male – I should have fought back…even when I was a child? #2 As a gay person – Somehow I should have known better? or Is it because I was gay – like maybe I ran aound prancing like a girl?….I thought children were protected period. People should protect each other period. #3 Men aren’t victims….and gay men should stop whinning or making up stories?….for some churh goers as long as you are gay you are a decendent of the Devil and your story is from false beginnings.

    We will grow from this and become better people!

    • Thanks for sharing, Dearly, I really like your observations. I’m sorry you also came from that sick incest family dynamic. It’s horrifying that your mother tried to drown you out of her perverted jealousy (mine did as well, though just as ‘punishment.) My family was also very homophobic–including my brother and father, despite the fact that they sexually abused me. Of course sexually abusing kids isn’t really about sexuality, but it is sick and disturbing that they thought such pedophilic behavior was o.k. yet scoffed at the idea of homosocial love and affection between equals. I concur with what you say–the idea of people being open, not hiding or living ‘underground’ with their sexuality does threaten pedophiles and their code of secrecy.

      It is also the same form of scapegoating that our families engaged in–my mother also wanted to pin the abuse onto just about anyone BUT herself. None of us want to ‘make up’ memories, but they come and they are the truth, our bodies alerting us to the traumas we faced and how they are affecting us until this day.

      I too object that some people (particularly homophobic people) want to define my sexuality as being just about one particular sex act when it is about so much more. I’m glad you had a good relationship in your tween years, my boyfriend at the time was very abusive.

      It is hard to break those patterns, of relationships and it’s very true that we chose to leave them once but we have to make that choice again all the time with the people we allow in our life now. I love your line about how their privileged to know you has expired–that’s perfect. The three stereotypes you bring up are spot on–I think it’s frankly sick the way people project the image that all boys are somehow nymphomaniacs and “want it,” so if we were straight and abused by women or gay and abused by men, it was our fault and there was no crime. That stereotype and the others have nothing to do with reality.

      thanks and take care,
      -Caden.

  10. Dani says:

    Out of curiosity I decided to look up what “Caden” means. Apparently it means “Spirit of Battle” or “Fighter”. How fitting!

    Thank you so much for posting this. I have been really “stuck” on my most recent abuser- my ex “friend” who decided it was okay to rape me. Its tough, especially because when I chose to stand up for myself, I ended up feeling more and more defeated by his staunch denial of what he did.

    In many ways I wish I never confronted him. I wish I never had to argue with him about what happened. I just wish that I had walked away sooner and cut him out for good with no explanation. Trying to stand up for myself and defend my point of view ended up exhausting me, and caused me to second guess what happened. His denial and manipulation would not end, especially after me trying to call him out on his wrongs.

    This post has really helped me come to terms with the fact that my experience wont always be validated – sometimes not even by myself. Being the empathetic person I am, its only natural for me to wonder where I may have gone wrong. Because after all, if the reason he raped me was because of me, my natural state would be to try to make it all better. But thats not true! Theres nothing I could do that would make him, or anyone, rape me! Those were his actions that determine his character, not mine.

    And no matter what, even if I had tried to do something differently…If I moulded myself to be something he wanted…maybe id still be in his life…but at what cost? Unfortunately, even after rape and countless other abuses, it took me a while to really learn how I deserve to be treated. But if thats how it had to be, I’m just glad its finally over. I will carry the scars as long as it means I wont let him carve new ones ever again.

    Once again, thank you for this inspiriting post. I am feeling a bit more forgiving towards myself knowing that I don’t have to change the past, but I might find peace in changing how I feel about the past.

    With love,
    Dani.

  11. Thank you for sharing, Dani. I’m so sorry you were sexually assaulted and emotionally abused by this “friend.” I know what you mean, I’ve focused on being ‘fair’ with others and giving them a chance sometimes instead of just walking away as soon as is best for me. But that’s ok, it’s a learning process to negotiate those boundaries and we get better as we go along. You’re right of course, there is nothing we can do to ‘make’ anyone abuse us, their behavior is their responsibility and comes from what is inside them, not us. I’ve also been re traumatized in the past by abusers who used every encounter as another opportunity to vent their abuse onto me. That’s why taking our power back can take many different forms depending on the situation.

    I’m glad you found my post inspiring, and yes the meanings for my name are very spot-on.

    take care,
    -Caden.

  12. You made me feel so many things. I’ve been around the block more times then countable.

  13. This touched me in a way unimaginable. My brother would molested me. I’ve blocked out what exactly but I have random flashbacks. But for so long I told myself, he must have been abused too. Then when I finally came out with it, my friends and certain members of my family, would say that he must have been abused to validating him and not me. I finally just like no, someone that’s just been abused too doesn’t try again with his sister when she’s 15 and he is like 22. And your post help me realize it doesn’t matter if he was abused, he was my abuser. And that should be enough for my friends and family. Ugh so many times I thought of how in was abused by him, I haven’t abused anyone! Just screaming mad. They don’t even know if he has been abused. It’s something they tell themselves to feel better, I don’t feel better. He abused me. It should be enough for this world. I’m sorry you’ve had to go threw all of this. But it seems like you are gaining strength and freedom the more you write! Thank you for posting, truly helped me in my struggle! You are not alone.

    • Thanks for reading and sharing some of your story, GraySkyHippie. I’m sorry that your brother also sexually abused you, and you were invalidated when speaking up. As survivors we need people (including ourselves, of course) who will boldly take our side, validate our feelings, our reality on how we were violated, traumatized, and hurt by being abused. Receiving ‘neutrality’ from others (which is actually slanted heavily towards the abuser) does not heal, and nor does trying to understand our abusers. Abuse is a cycle (that we managed to break) but that is really a separate issue. We have a right to feel angry, sad, violated, afraid…we have a right to feel what we feel and express that without others trying to be “fair” to our abusers when we do it (and how is that fair exactly? they abused us!!!) The fact that we were abused is definitely more then enough.

      take care,
      -Caden.

      • Thank you Caden. That’s exactly it. That they want to be fair. My sister and little brother just can’t help but want to have their brother back. I know they all know a different side than me. But that just makes me feel like the side he was to me, the side that crushed me, didn’t exist. I know my middle brother and sister in law get it. He has caused a lot of trouble for them, they feel a different kind of pain and frustration but that also makes me feel like I can trust them with my safety when I go home. I finally told my parents how afraid I am to go to their house especially during holidays where my evil brother can just pop in at anytime that if they don’t follow my wishes, I won’t be back. They just told me to forgive him, move on. But I can move on and protect myself. I don’t have to put myself in a place to feel scared or even the bad guy destroying my family. Sorry just went on a tangent. I really appreciate your comment.

  14. Lucky says:

    Your words echoed some of my experience which can’t be understood by people around me. Such echo warmed my heart, strengthened me and damaged my loneliness resulted from abuse.

    Those abusers are really good actors/actresses, because they know how to manipulate outsiders’s feelings to let them think: your family/groups/you/your experience are quite normal and maybe you use a wrong way to interpret those events in your life so you feel abused. Their shows with those mindless audience can really bring you into a special loneliness, in which you have friends, relatives and careers but still feel very lonely. You communicate with them, but can’t feel warmth as humanity from them. They can never know your feelings of those very deep experience, even if you give them words. Some people even try to correct you, to make you believe that those abusers do for your good.

    Your profile photo shows me some depressive aura. Its angle is special, from the side top of your head, while you still look cute and sexy. O(∩_∩)O. I am a bi and still a bit broken.

    It’s the first time that those of my experience was resonated. Thank you! I want to copy some of your words because they are really what I want to say.

    • Thank you Lucky, I’m so glad you took something away from my words here. Many people are lured in by the fake masks that abusers project to the outside world; I know my mother fooled a lot of people, but those she fooled lacked any consciousness or a sense of themselves. I know exactly what you mean about the alienation that follows from being invalidated; I spent many years of my life feeling locked on the outside, and I’m sorry you’ve experienced that too.

      take care and thank you for sharing and your compliments,
      -Caden.
      Reply

  15. C says:

    Caden,

    You are an extraordinary human being. I am amazed and inspired by the courage, strength, and openness you show by sharing your story on this blog. I hope you know even on your hardest days that you are making a difference and you are way, way, way beyond good enough. You are an amazing kick-ass dude who deserves to rock this life and do whatever your heart desires. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you are doing. Many blessings to you.

    • Thank you so much C, I really appreciate what you’ve said here. I’m only too happy if I can inspire and make a difference through my writing here.

      take care and thanks for reading,
      -Caden.

  16. “I dare to change, to enter new territory inside myself and become even more unlike the people I’ve left behind.”

    This is awesome.

    Also, I’m a connoisseur of names and I’ve never seen Caden spelled with a “C” before. I like it.

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