When I was 12 years old, I was sexually molested by someone a little bit older than myself. I was also introduced to pornography at the same time. These two events combined to have a devastating effect on my life for decades.
After feeling violated and taken advantage of, I lost confidence in myself. I became afraid to try new things, and when I did make an effort, it was without the confidence that I had prior to these incidents.
I started losing the ability to converse with girls I liked. This got worse when I hit puberty a short time later and exponentially worse when I became a young adult. I also lost the ability to talk to just about anyone, except for close friends. I became extremely introverted.
Continued exposure to pornography, especially after having been exposed to it at the age I was and in the situation it was exposed to me, crippled my ability to get close to a woman without comparing her to what was corrupting my mind. And when I sincerely became interested in someone for who they were, I was too afraid to get close. Intimacy scared the heck out of me.
At one point, when I was young, I considered suicide. The abuse wasn’t the only reason for that, but I’m sure it was a contributing factor. I never acted on any suicidal thoughts, though, partially because I knew doing that would devastate my mother. I don’t know how she would have been able to handle that.
It was a long, long road to overcoming this. And I had a lot of help.
The first step was realizing that whatever happened in the past was done; there was nothing I could do about it. But the rest of my life was still out there to be lived and I was the one who could make my future.
But that alone didn’t cure me suddenly. It’s easy to know things like that; it’s different to feel it and act it.
I also had to start feeling better about me as a person, that I was a good guy and worthy of being loved. And that took many years.
I had to reteach myself to talk to people. One of the things I slowly learned how to do after becoming a journalist was how to interview people. I was not very good at it at first, and I was very afraid I’d ask a stupid question. But after a few years, I started to have some successes, and the whole thing sort of snowballed. But again, this was a long, long process.
The effects of the sexual abuse finally started to fade after about 30 years, just about the same time I went cold turkey on pornography. A friend of mine invited me to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and savior. I went home that night and was going to turn on the computer and view pornography like I did the night before. I remember thinking to myself, “You just accepted Jesus into your heart, you need to act like it.” I haven’t viewed pornography since then. During that time, I also prayed with my friend that I would be able to be in a healthy, loving relationship with a woman.
So, for over a decade now, I’ve been completely free of the effects of the sexual abuse and pornography. I know what it can do to people’s lives and I urge anyone out there who has problems in either of these areas to talk to someone about it. You can beat it, too.
© Copyright October 9, 2015 Paul J. Hoffman All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.