Do You Want a Future?

walking the path

It wasn’t until David Pittman went back to his past and acknowledged the childhood sexual abuse that he endured, that he that he began to work through the painful issues in his adult life.

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Truth is truth, right? And if it is so, then whether we agree with it or not, it’s still the truth. You may not agree with the concept of gravity, especially if you’re like me when you step on a scale. But if you step off a second floor balcony with no net to catch your fall, you will discover a hard, cement-tasting truth.

Copernicus, Galileo, Bruno and multiple other thinkers were at one time called heretics. In the end, what they found to be the truth went against ALL popular “scientific” notions of the day, religious beliefs or merely values held at the time.

I say this to bring to light the following truth I’ve discovered in my own life –

“You must enter your past to fix your present. If you don’t, you will have no future.”

I know, I know, sounds like a psychobabble cliche, but just as we call something a “generalization”, there’s a reason, that’s because they are “generally” true. So this time, with a non-judgmental or preconceived notion, let me repeat and have you read it once more…

…”you must enter your past to fix your present. If you don’t, you will have no future.”

I admit it sounds a bit ominous. And while it may be hard to hear, I’m merely trying to make a point, emphasizing the truth I discovered in my own life. It wasn’t until I went back to my past; the acknowledgment of the childhood sexual abuse that I endured from ages 12-15, that enabled me to begin to work through the issues of the present of that time. Once acknowledged and beginning to heal, I finally, for the first time in almost 10 years, began to see the potential of a future that lay ahead.

Once upon a time, I was heavily addicted to multiple narcotics to numb myself from the trauma of childhood sexual abuse. This led to three arrests, jail time, fines, no drivers license for a year, loss of tens of thousands of dollars in wages from a career I was genuinely passionate about. And in varying degrees, it cost me a relationship of five years, another of four and even an earlier one of six years. This “past” was destroying my “present” and if something didn’t give, my “future” was going to be even more limited than it already was!

But my story is not an isolated one. It’s not even unique and definitely not as harsh, from my perspective, as some others have been through. But that’s just from my life view. We all have a different one.

So how do we do accomplish this task? How do we get from point A to point B? That is to say, how do we look into our past, into that abyss, without falling back in? Then how do we take that information, apply it to our present so that we have the opportunity to move on into a more positive future? A lot of questions with multiple choice answers, I know.

Even if you’re not an addict or alcoholic, I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “admitting you have a problem is the first step.” And with survivors of CSA, this saying has some weight as well, just with a different angle. It’s not that we have to admit we have a problem, we have to admit that a horrible event and crime was perpetrated against us. And this is not an easy or small task. In fact, in my case, I made numerous trips to the place where I knew I had to address my abuser. I drove past it, I stopped at the driveway, heck one time I even got out of the car, was walking up the door of the church, when I turned around and drove back home. In total, it took me 6 trips to finally be able to speak out against my abuser. To tell the people in authority above him exactly what he was, what he was capable of, and the danger he posed to the very children he was charged with protecting.

And that last thing I just mentioned was the real motivation behind what i had to do. More than just my own self-serving, self-healing desires behind the action I knew I had to take, more important than shedding the light on the past…even more at stake was the future of the lives of his potential victims.

I know now I wasn’t his first victim, nor was I his last. And how I wished, prayed and pleaded that someone had come forward before he got to me. So now it was up to me. Now I had the strength to face the cold, hard truth. I knew if the young boys he had access to were to have any chance of a future free from the emotional, physical and spiritual torture I experienced, I was going to have to step up and tell the truth of what this monster is.

If I was to have any potential peace with my own future I had to make sure, to the best of my ability, that no other little boy in his life would be molested, abused or raped. And so I did just that. I acknowledged my past, I took action in the present, and I know now I have done all I could within my power to help those boys have a decent future. And in doing so, my future too is one of peace and healing.

So do whatever you need to enter your past in a healthy way. Whether through one-on-one counseling, group therapy or any other professional help you require. Seek it out so you can begin to “fix” your present. And by that I simply mean whatever will help you begin to heal, I know from personal experience nothing gets “fixed” to what it was before. But in doing this, by beginning to heal, you will have a chance to take back what was stolen from you and to have a future and peace you deserve.

 

Originally appeared at Together We Heal

 

Photo: Flickr/John Steven Fernandez

Premium Membership, The Good Men Project

About David Pittman

As the Executive Director of Together We Heal, David Pittman works to educate the public through speaking and collaborating with other groups to raise awareness and expose the sexual predator's methods. TWH now works with therapists, counselors and groups aiding both men and women in their efforts to heal, grow and thrive. He is also the South Florida Area Support Group Leader for SNAP, Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests.

Comments

  1. “I made numerous trips to the place where I knew I had to address my abuser…”

    Did you confront your abuser face to face?

    I don’t think I could do that face to face with my abuser’s supervisors…or with my abuser….he was that physically big and scary…

    • Hi Leia,

      Eventually I was able to face my abuser and ask him why, but I did not receive anything from it. He cried crocodile tears and lied. He said there were no others, but there were…many others. What I was able to do, was to let the people in authority above him know he was a pedophile/sexual predator so they could take some appropriate actions and remove him from having access to little boys. I hear you when you say, you don’t think you could do it. I don’t think it’s always a necessity to do so. I believe it is a most personal decision and one not made lightly. Please do not think that I am suggesting all survivors confront their abusers. In some cases that could be dangerous. I believe that each survivor has a unique path to healing and they should follow that path as they get help from a professional (therapy) and from their own serious introspection. I know how much therapy helped me and my own healing path continues to this day. I hope this has been some help to you. Peace be with you.

  2. Thanks for sharing your story. I truly believe that in order to move forward in life we need to confront our past. Otherwise, no matter how smart we are or hard we work, we end up creating the same future.

  3. David, I’m glad I came across this blog, but I’m sorry for what you experienced. This is essential for survivors to understand because it removes the burden of self-blame: “It’s not that we have to admit we have a problem, we have to admit that a horrible event and crime was perpetrated against us.” Cheers, Lynn

  4. Michael and Lynn, thank you for your kind words and encouragement and for really “getting it” when it comes to this article. What you both said is spot on. We must examine our past in order to have a chance at a more positive future.

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