For most of my childhood, the only other children in our rural neighborhood were my brother’s age or significantly older, and so none of them really became my friends, yet I often wound up tagging along anyway. But, most of the ‘games’ my brother and his best friend down the road had me play with them involved bullying or manipulative ways of getting me to give them what they wanted. The most disturbing of which was the ‘dark game.’ Played in our basement with all the lights turned off, it was sort of a ‘hide and seek’ with the caveat that once the seeker found someone, they were allowed to do anything they could to prevent them from turning the lights on first, and thus winning the game. This included taking off their pants and underwear. Of course this was the real purpose of the game, and I was the intended target of it.
Last night I was triggered into a dissociative flashback to one particular incident where I had objected to this continuing to be a part of the game, to their refusal. My brother’s friend started on a disgusting rant that because my penis was so small I shouldn’t care if they saw it. I replied to the effect that his wasn’t any bigger, and he decided to take this as a bet. After that they forcibly took my clothes off, and made me to sit down on an old couch in the corner. They were grabbing my genitals, hitting me, and then he took his out and made me suck him off. I was crying, I couldn’t breathe, and so frightened. I recalled another time he grabbed me in the dark, and whispered “if you tell anyone I’ll kill you” before pulling my pants down, cupping his hand over my mouth…
My parents were right upstairs while all of this happened, probably sitting in front of the tv without a thought for us or what we were doing. I remember sometimes I had come up from the basement crying, my mother would yell something incoherent at them, and that was it. After all it was “normal” to her so she didn’t care, didn’t bother to use her problem-solving skills to protect me or supervise us. She often tried to pressure me to “go outside and play” when they were the only option and it was obvious they mistreated me. This other boy was from a really conservative catholic family, with a stay-at-home mom. He was so cold and violent, but yet again, I hadn’t remembered this overt, graphic sexual abuse had been part of his treatment of me. It was worse than I thought.
Those times in my childhood where someone (this neighborhood boy, my father, my brother…) decided to violate, assault, and traumatize me because of a minute suggestion in something I had said are the most disturbing to me. Responding to words with violence is one of the most unjust and stupid acts I can imagine. And it put the blame on me, making me feel if I had just not said that, it wouldn’t have happened; I was accused of “asking for it.” But really, people can just respond with words or walk away if they didn’t like what I had said to them. They had no right to take control of my body or unload some sadistic urge because they felt offended. But I was surrounded by children who bullied in response to being abused and immature adults with no principles.
After this flashback, once I had written everything down but was still a wreck, I wound up telling my companion for the first time about the sexual abuse and incest. I had been wondering when I would, but found it hard to bring it up out of nowhere when I was feeling stable, and I had doubts as to his response. Yet at that point, when he asked me what was wrong, there was no other way but to tell. He was really supportive and understanding about it; we had a long conversation and by the end I was feeling better, I was out of that state. I’m really glad that happened, certainly if I want to be open, he needed to know what I’m going through right now.