By Guest Blogger Nathan Daniels
P.S. Check out Nathan’s interview here — Nathan is a mental health awareness advocate and male survivor of childhood sexual abuse.
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Flashback to Abuse
Image from HCP Live
I loved my big sister, and always craved her attention when I was little, but my early memories of our relationship are filled with verbal, emotional, physical and sexual abuse. When my sister was thirteen, our uncle molested her at our grandmother’s house. He passed a vile sickness on to her that she, in turn, passed on to her little brother.
My sister manipulated my emotions and injected horrible pain and confusion into my life, which would fester and grow for decades to come. I would have given anything for her to play with me, talk with me, or just pay attention to me, even if it was just for a few minutes.
She couldn’t be bothered with being nice to me, and her and my father, both, called me every name in you can imagine. My sister loved to pinch, push, punch and bully me. Once, she even sawed my index finger to the bone in a lawn chair “accident.”
Another time, she kicked me in the face so hard it split my lip and had it dangling toward my chin. I collapsed on her bed, screaming, and painted her sheets, thoroughly, with my blood. It was the bee incident, however, that earned me a lifetime of buzzing nightmares worthy of a scene in a horror movie.
With cruel cunning, she lured me beneath the branch to investigate the hive. With pinpoint accuracy, she launched a rock that sent the hive smashing to the ground. She knew I was allergic… her plot was pure evil. My face and body were stung thoroughly, and repeatedly, while I screamed — she laughed. My mom rescued me with the garden hose, and we rushed to the ER, as I went into shock.
I learned to feel terror in my sister’s presence, knowing she was capable of anything. I was already convinced my father, who referred to me as a “pussy and a “momma’s boy,” wanted to kill me… he told me so! That is an entirely different story, but needless to say, I twitched a lot and jumped at loud noises.
Imagine the confusing joy I felt, as a six-year old little boy, when my big sister finally started paying attention and being nice to me. All of a sudden, she was willing to play with my He-Man and Star Wars action figures, or laugh through an hour of Tom & Jerry. Then, gradually, she started introducing versions of show-and-tell.
Eventually, she would suggest I owed her favors for spending time with me…
“Help me practice a grown-up kiss, so my new boyfriend won’t think I’m a dummy, okay?”
It wasn’t okay!
“You don’t want him to break up with me do you?” She manipulated.
I shrugged… “Guess not.”
“Of course you don’t! I really like this one. Besides, I did just play with you for over an hour. Don’t you think you should be able to help me for ten measly little minutes?” She sighed and shrugged. “I thought we were finally starting to get along.” She was looking at me… expectantly.
“I guess I can try,” meekly, “but, I don’t know how to do that… And, plus, it’s gross too!”
“It is not gross! It’s easy. Just open your mouth a little, and you can even close your eyes… most grown-ups do,” offering such nonchalant instruction.
“Good! You can’t tell mom though. She really doesn’t think I’m old enough to kiss boys yet, but that’s ‘cause she’s from different times. I know you understand though… we’re like best friends now too!” She was expertly closing the deal… making sure I couldn’t back down!
I just nodded, because I couldn’t talk anymore. I shut my eyes and opened my mouth a little…
“Dark House” | Image by Gothikaradium
Our polluted relationship housed this continuing dark secret for a year. I was seven years old when it finally ended, and that’s a scene, forever, embedded in my memory with crystal clarity of sights and sounds.
Our mother walked in on us… I was buried beneath the sheets, while frustrated hands were pushing on the back of my head. The sensitive skin on my young face was being tortured, and I remember picturing my mother scrubbing pans with steel wool, while I tried to breathe in spite of sour, alien smells.
My mom yanked me from the bed… hard — loud, jagged words, I’d never heard mommy use before shattered my eardrums, while I bawled hysterically. I was rescued, but felt more fear instead of relief! I was overwhelmed by a maelstrom of false guilt and shame! I thought I was in trouble, and destined for fierce punishment, that might include death when daddy found out.
I wasn’t grounded by my mother or killed by my father. My sister never touched me again, and she moved out shortly after her crimes were discovered. In a very real way, I was right about facing a terrible punishment though.
It took me nearly thirty years to reach an understanding about what happened to me, accept it, and ultimately let it go. Almost three decades of sorting through all the pain and complex emotion, to finally call myself a survivor… instead of a victim. I hope sharing a little bit, about what happened to me helps others feel less alone, and offers some kind of hope that they too will survive.
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About the author:
Nathan Daniels, author of Surviving the Fourth Cycle, lives with psychological disorders including Agoraphobia, OCD, Social Anxiety Disorder, Chronic PTSD, and Borderline Personality Disorder. Abused in his youth, orphaned and homeless as a teenager, he became self-abusive and suicidal as an adult. Against all odds he survived, and now uses writing to raise awareness for, and fight stigma associated with; abuse, suicide, and mental illness. For more information, visit www.survivingthefourthcycle.com
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