Paul’s Story of Childhood Trauma and Recovery

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.

  1. Paul, I want to thank you for a great interview and for sharing your story. It’s such a brave thing to do. 🙂


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