Updated: Jan 5, 2021
The following blog post may be inappropriate for younger readers.
READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.
(click here to read the previous post)
My story began with my paternal grandparents molesting me (and my two younger brothers) from the time I was age 2+ until I was 11 years old. They dressed us up as girls, played mental games, groomed us and made us their sexual slaves. Once the abuse stopped and the molesters were removed, another battle started….
Though my youngest brother was abused the least amount of time of the three of us, he endured just as much direct abuse in 2+ years than I endured in almost 9. He was my grandfather’s favorite toy, and molested almost daily from 3 years old because he was the most attractive, needy, and impressionable of the 3 of us boys. Sadly, his presence afforded me an escape from constant abuse and I was able to avoid my grandparents’ attention more often because they were abusing him instead of me. This broke my heart, but I knew that I was powerless to stop them.
I enjoyed the less attention by helping out at my uncle’s horse barn next door, feeling safe around the horses he owned. I had peace when I was with them, and I felt comfort through the hugs that the horses shared with me. This carried me through the times when I was home and couldn’t escape my grandparents’ cruelty.
When our molestation came to light, the fallout began for the entire family.
My grandfather had his fingers in almost everything in my father’s world - his marriage, his children, his business, his reputation, his politics, his income, his financial future… all of it. My grandfather’s influence in the community had the power to hurt my father’s business, and therefore all he held dear - his pride and his greed.
My father cared much more about his bank account than he ever cared about his own children’s well-being. We pushed for individual and family counseling, and the cost of all 5 of us attending counseling made him livid. He took his resentment out on us, and he blamed us for his misery.
He made the choice to “forgive and forget,” and return to his own relationship with his parents. But this allowed my grandparents to continue holding emotional control over him as they kept trying to get back into our lives. He knew he could never let that happen again, and their constant pounding on him about it made his life even more of a living hell… which he passed on to us.
My youngest brother was the most reactive to my father’s physical, mental and emotional abuse, and from ages 6 to 13 he would challenge my father, while my middle brother would hide, and I would often get quiet, take the beating and walk away. My youngest brother was my father’s scapegoat, the one to blame for disappointments and failures - and his fighting back gave my father a reason to continue beating on him.
My father once said to him, “I wouldn’t be beating on you if you were a girl,” (because, ironically, my grandfather had taught him never to beat on a woman). And yet, when my youngest brother was 4, my grandparents gave him a toolbox and secretly encouraged him to lock girls’ dresses in it with a lock only he and they knew the combination to. He hid the lockbox in his closet and even stole certain items of our mother’s clothing and hoarded them in the toolbox, secretly playing with and wearing them, both alone and with our grandparents, unbeknownst to our mother.
For years after the abuse had ended, my father continued to reinforce my grandparents’ message that my youngest brother would be better off as a girl, and maybe he would have escaped abuse if he had been born female.
This affected me because I had also been treated and dressed as a girl, and as a pubescent boy I was beginning to question my own identity and where I fit into the world of male and female roles. Maybe if I had been a girl, I would’ve escaped abuse. Being molested had confused me as to who I was, who I should be attracted to, and who God created me to be.
Not long after the abuse came to light, we discovered that there were many other children (male and female) that my grandparents had molested, including my father, his brother and sister, and our closest cousins (and later, their children). Being female did not save my cousins or aunt from abuse. My grandparents were also popular babysitters for other kids in the neighborhoods where they owned property, so logic and personal experience lead me to believe that my grandparents were molesting any children that they had been given unrestricted access to, even up until my grandfather died in his mid-90s.
So I tried to navigate my life; my grandparents wanted to pass me their torch of abuse, my father and uncle blamed me for admitting the truth and uncovering their own abused past, my mother wanted me to comfort her as she faced her own abused childhood, and my brothers blamed me for their abuse and wanted nothing to do with me. My uncle’s horses, on the other hand, wanted nothing from me, other than hay and a handful of grain. They didn’t expect me to give them anything. They enjoyed a scratch here or there, and taught me that I could just be around them, without stress or worry. They were the only safety I could find.
After my grandparents were kicked off our property and we listed the house for sale, my uncle made it clear we were no longer welcome on his land, and I had to begin sneaking into his barn to be with the horses. Once our previous home sold, we moved away from the gentle creatures with whom I had found a haven. We bought property near the river, and I never touched another horse for the rest of the time I lived in Maryland. It was during this time that I found my love for working on machines; i.e., cars, trucks and boats.
At age 13, fixing things was my way of righting wrongs, mending broken things. It was a message to my brain, telling me to keep pursuing healing for my spirit. If I could fix a broken machine, maybe I could fix my broken life. I used this skill to escape the continued abuse suffered from my parents. But in order to pay for my new-found escape, I needed to earn money… and I spent even more time with my father every day, because I was too young to drive and the only way my parents would let me get a job was if I was working for my father’s business and carpooling with him.
On our way to and from the office, I had to listen to my father’s tirades, calling my mother horrible things, discussing his sex life, verbally attacking me and my personality, and he was sometimes so full of rage I was afraid for my life or the lives of those around us. During the counseling sessions my parents attended together, my father became unstable to the point that the counselor highly recommended that my mother have all weapons removed from our house and stored with our neighbors, to protect us from my father (as well as keeping him from killing himself).
All this time, I had been continually struggling with my own sexuality, which had been awakened and nurtured through my grandparents’ abuse. In my early teen years my friends introduced me to pornography, which became an obsession and addiction, and seemed to help me deal with my own sexuality that I didn’t know how to address. Unable to come to any type of resolutions, I became suicidal around age 16.
I went into a massive depression because of conflicting messages: at church, they said that God was a loving rescuer, but nobody in any church I attended ever showed me the love they said God had for me. Church was just as much of an unsafe place as my home and family had always been. Their actions didn’t match up with what they said they believed, nor the God they claimed to follow. Why would He allow me to go through all of this? I withdrew deeper into myself and told no one (not even my counselor) the truth of how I felt and viewed life.
I knew that I was guy, and yet I sometimes felt that I liked things that made me seem like I should be a girl. It completely frustrated me that I could even consider believing my grandparents’ brainwashing and lies about who I was and question my sexuality - I had no idea if I was straight, gay, transgender, or anything in between. I was looking at my past and I saw a dark future, or none at all. I wanted out of my pain as soon as possible and I had no hope.
I couldn’t find a way out of the constant fighting within my home. I couldn’t escape thoughts running through my head about who I was, how I was weak and afraid to stick my neck out and be brave enough to stop the abuse of my brothers (even though there was truly nothing as a child that I could have done to stop it).
I was so low at this point that I finally said to myself, “I am done.”
As I drove to a counseling appointment one day, I planned the route I would take on the way home - once my appointment was over, I would reach the spot along the road where there were no guardrails and no one would know that I had run off the road until it was far too late. The trees below would rip my vehicle apart and no one would know to come looking for me for hours, while I would bleed out and eventually succumb to my injuries. I knew that if I were to take pills, or cut myself, or jump from a high place, the odds were much greater that I would be found before I died, and I wasn’t trying to cry out for help, like many suicide attempts. My goal was to no longer live this life, because my misery was far too much to bear. I didn’t want to be rescued. I wanted to escape completely.
On my way home, I removed my seatbelt and began to accelerate… but what happened next still blows my mind to this day: I approached the specific section of road and when I went to turn the wheel to drive off the edge, the steering wheel would not turn. I physically could not turn the wheel, no matter how hard I tried. The steering wheel was physically locked… and as soon as I passed that section of the road, it was as if nothing had happened. The steering wheel worked perfectly, as it always had (and continued to do until I sold the vehicle). The only time I ever had a problem with the steering on that vehicle was that one stretch of road on that one specific day when I planned to drive it over the edge.
It wasn’t a coincidence that I didn’t die that day. I became so angry at God for my failed suicide attempt that I began to push the limits to try and to force Him to kill me outright - I had read in the Bible “Do not test the Lord your God.” I wanted Him to determine that I was a worthless cause and take me out. I didn’t want Him to use me for any part of his future plans because I’d already had enough pain for multiple lifetimes. I had no hope, and it was my greatest fear that I would never live up to the person that God created me to be. I believed that I had already let Him down, and there was no coming back from that. I became more and more reckless with my life, and that led me to yet another chapter….
…for the continuation of this story, click here.