The Man Who Scares Me Most Is Me. Will I Become A Monster, Too?
Nightmares of my Monster and Triggers
Here is the fear that haunted me for so many years of my life…Will I one day become a pedophile like the monster who molested me? There is a popular myth that most pedophiles are victims of child molestation themselves. Did my molestation predispose me to this life sentence?
After years of mental trauma associated with being molested, the thought of becoming a monster myself kept me up at night.
It made me physically ill. I’ve never watched a child and been aroused. I only see one thing, their sweet innocence. That sick fuck stole my innocence. He manipulated me and claimed it for his own. Every time I see innocence in a child, I am filled with love but I am also reminded of my terrible fucking loss. Children bring me joy but they also trigger pain.
My Biggest Dream and My Toughest Battle
As a young man, I was distraught with the thought that I might become a monster myself. It created self-doubt in my ability to be a good father. Growing up without an active father in my life really lit a flame in me. I dreamed of being a father. I appreciated the dynamic that exists between a good father and his children because I was hyper-aware and searched for examples everywhere.
I spent my childhood years wishing for one more day with my dad. He may have been flawed but he was a good man. I couldn’t wait to become a dad myself from a very young age. But then the question would creep in.
Should I become a dad? Will my kids be safe with me? Will I become a monster?
The Inner Struggle and My Leap of Faith
So there was this inner struggle going on in my mind. Do I become a dad and fulfill this lifelong dream or do I continue to assume the worst to protect my unborn children? My monster stole so much from me. It wasn’t limited to my innocence, he fucking crushed my self-confidence. Do I move forward on my own or do I follow my dream of being a dad?
I would close my eyes and envision myself playing with my kids and a smile would expand across my face. We would be jumping waves in the ocean, having a catch or I’d be consoling them after their first heartbreak. All of these thoughts would warm my heart. Then the self-doubt would creep into my head and I would picture myself inappropriately touching one of my kids or their friends and it would fucking crush me.
No amount of alcohol could drown the thought of me hurting a child. This battle between good and evil went on in my head for years and no one had a fucking clue and that’s the way I wanted it. The truth is I didn’t resolve this conflict until after I had my kids. I had to take a leap of faith and follow my dream. I’m so glad I did.
Two Protectors are Better than One
I married a beautiful girl who is a protector herself. She was raised to be loyal and protect her family. I love her parents and she had a super-strong dad. He is her hero. He was a man’s man and he was a protector. He was a great example for my wife and I took some lessons too.
When my wife and I were planning our family, we both wanted children but I wasn’t honest with her about my concerns. How do you tell the woman you love that you are afraid of becoming a monster? I shared my molestation story with my wife early on in our dating years. She was the only person I told for many years but she had no idea of my crippling fear. I kept that shit buried much deeper.
We decided to wait a few years after marriage before having kids. We wanted some time to focus on ourselves. Over those years, my confidence in my wife’s ability to be a great mom and a protector only grew stronger. I knew with her by my side I could take the leap of faith and bring children into our world.
The truth is our decision to wait was a big relief for me. It’s really sad as I look back on it. Not that we took some time for ourselves, that was the right decision. What saddens me is my mental trauma. The battle in my head was as strong as ever at that moment in our lives. Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and give the man I was a big hug and assure him we become the fucking dad we always dreamed we would. He would have been so relieved.
Another sad truth is why I decided to share my molestation story with my wife. At the time I viewed myself as damaged goods and I thought she should know before she invested more in our relationship. Again, the self-doubt my monster embedded in me was running wild in my head. I am grateful my wife recognized my true potential at a time when I was still questioning its existence.
Dreams Come True
When my oldest daughter was born, my dreams came true. I felt a love I never could have imagined but I was still haunted by the possibility I might become her monster. During her early childhood years, I ground my way through each day trying to create the fatherhood experience I always dreamed my daughter and I would have.
I leaned on alcohol often to provide a temporary oasis from my inner struggle but overall my dreams were coming true. My middle child arrived three years later, a little boy just like his dad. My love for my kids only multiplied over six good years. I was enjoying life with two great kids and my wife by my side, but in reality, I was operating at sixty percent of my full potential.
We were an all-American family but no one knew the pain I was in. I was a chameleon navigating through the highs and the lows of life while blending in with all the other people out there. I thought this was my destiny…living a good life while powering through some darkness along the way. I didn’t realize the freight train that was headed my way. I was headed to the pit of hell but the sunrise on the other side was worth the journey.
The Freight Train and its Six-Year-Old Conductor
When my oldest daughter was about to go into first grade eight years ago, a freight train powered right through my living room. That’s when I began to realize the true magnitude of the crime that was committed against me thirty-five years earlier.
The timing was no coincidence. I was six when my molestation started.
Looking at my beautiful little girl, I began to truly realize what I lost. I also discovered the immense power of absolute trust and the beauty of pure innocence. I finally realized what my monster did and maybe, more importantly, how he did it.
I plan to write about this leg of my journey with some frequency here. This is the stage of my life when the pain was the strongest, but it’s also when I did a ton of my self-discovery. It almost fucking destroyed me and everything I worked so hard to build. My monster was stronger than ever and in this second version of abuse, he was threatening my most treasured gift…my relationship with my two children.
I am proud to say that eight years later the freight train has been recycled as scrap metal and my monster is no longer a threat to my family. With my wife and my two kids by my side, I was able to go eleven rounds with my monster but it wasn’t until the twelfth round that I scored my knockout. That’s when God sent our third child
She is my warrior princess. I finally found the power to summon my inner warrior for one last battle with my monster. One of us made it through to the other side. It was time to move on to the great life I deserve.
Back to the Point of this Post – The Monster
I am no threat to my daughter or my other two kids. I am no threat to other children outside our home either. I am a protector. I always have been and I always will be. I am their father. I love them unconditionally. There was never a monster in me. He never had the power to make me a monster.
I’m not like him. I’m the complete opposite. I needed some help to discover this about myself. Getting help from a qualified individual or organization is nothing to be ashamed of in life. It’s not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength.
What’s Up, Doc?
As the freight train was making frequent stops in my living room, I made the decision to talk to a therapist. I researched and found someone who was trauma trained and specialized in working with adult survivors of child molestation. Doc is now a member of my community and someone I talk to from time to time to help peel back more layers.
My second one-hour session with him was worth any financial commitment I’ve made to him over the years. It was during this session that I shared my fear that a monster might be hidden deep down inside of me. I asked him how I could protect my kids from me in the event that such a safety net was needed. He let out a slight smile, which I wasn’t expecting to see. It was the kind of smile you give when you realize you possess the relief that someone so desperately needs.
A Simple Understanding Is The Best Medicine
I will always remember what the Doc said next. He told me he was recently blessed with becoming a grandparent. He said his love for his grandchild knew no boundaries. While he acknowledged that he and I didn’t know each other very well, he said he would rest easy if I was caring for his grandchild. He went on:
“I know you are a protector! You wouldn’t let anything bad happen to my grandchild. You would put yourself in harm’s way to protect him if needed.”
He was right. I wouldn’t hesitate for a minute to protect a child, any child.
I asked the Doc how he could be so confident. His answer was threefold:
“You fought off your abuser. You told your wife about your abuse. You came to see me for help. These are not the actions of a child molester. Child molesters hunt in plain sight. The last thing they would do is draw this type of attention to themselves. You are not a child molester. You are a protector.”
Wow, What a Relief!
In two short sessions, I found so much relief. I was not a fucking monster and I would never be one! Holy shit! What a breakthrough!! I’m glad I met Doc. He is a kind and understanding man. One I needed and one I still value to this day.
He took something incredibly painful and troublesome to me and helped me rethink it in a positive, more empowering light. I still had a great deal of work to do to arrive where I am today, but I was certainly off and running.
My work was just beginning and I had more to discover, process, and appreciate over the next few years. But this one monumental win gave me hope for my healing journey. Hope that I would need as I fell deeper and deeper into anger and sorrow for the discovery of what happened to me.
Hope saved my life and in the process revealed my missing forty percent. Hope led me to the great life I truly deserve. And hope can lead you there, too.
I look forward to our collective sharing and growth together as thrivers!
The Sunrise Warrior
I am a man living with his family in the suburbs of a metropolitan city. I have five bicycles in my shed, a basketball net in the backyard, and two vehicles in the driveway including a kick-ass minivan. I am a husband, father, son, brother, and friend. I am a business owner recognized as a leader in my field. I am an entrepreneur in search of opportunity in each situation. I am a passionate volunteer for a number of worthy causes. Read More