On the other hand, you might have suffered some terrible injustice as a child.
One major, but largely ignored, category of such abuse is that of boys emotionally, physically, or sexually damaged by women.
This abuse is not only widespread but may be at the root of much subsequent abuse of women by men.
A little boy abused by a woman suffers in similar ways to a little girl abused by a man.
In recent times it has become acceptable for women to speak out about the abuse they suffered as children; most men feel no such permission is given to them about the abuse they suffered as little boys at the hands of women. These men are ashamed, and enraged.
They are enraged because society accepts that men can be angry but there is less acceptance for the male victims’ feelings of hurt, fear, inadequacy, guilt, embarrassment, and especially weakness and vulnerability.
A male victim smothers these emotions with anger. In this way, he preserves his masculine image. But the cost is enormous.
A man unaware of the deep sources of his anger will, at the least, have troubled relationships with women; at the worst, he may rape and mutilate.
A male victim of childhood sexual abuse by women displays the following behavior as an adult:
>> Distrust of women.
>> Fear of intimacy.
>> No separate identity.
>> Readily feels guilt.
>> Hard time to accept compliments.
>> Holds back emotions.
>> Protects abuser(s).
>> Sexual difficulties.
>> Seeks abuser’s approval.
>> Constantly apologises.
>> Eager to care for others.
>> Joyless. (Adapted from Blanchard, 1987*)
The lousy feelings often erupt as rage. Ronald sought professional help to change his vicious behavior toward his wife, Helen.
Ronald would arrive home disgruntled after a disappointing day (every day was disappointing) in the architectural office where he worked, and an hour’s drive to the suburb.
Before long, he would be kicking Helen. There was always some pretext for the kicks. (Helen did not have supper ready, or she was on the phone, or she wore a dress he hated…). Ronald never used his fists. Always his legs. He despaired of his uncontrollable rage because he believed that “Helen was the best thing that had ever happened to me.”
As Ronald talked more about his life, his hostility to almost everyone became evident. He was jealous of his brothers, sneered at their choices of wives, hated his job where he felt put upon, especially by female colleagues.
When Ronald spoke about his mother, he whined. Long stories of how she favored one or other of his brothers, how he cringed in her presence, how he avoided visits to her house yet was jealous of her contacts with his siblings. Ronald was convinced his mother preferred one of his nephews, adding bitterly, “Though my son was the first grandchild.”
Hypnotherapy Heals the Hurt and the Rage
Within the comfort of hypnosis Ronald was able to connect his present-day woes with unpleasant incidents in his childhood.
This was accomplished with what hypnotherapists call an “affect link.” You allow yourself to feel a particular emotion, such as grief. As you continue to experience the feeling, the hypnotherapist asks you to recall an earlier time when you felt the same way. Ronald’s confused mix of bitterness, rage and sense of abandonment, swiftly drew up a memory of his mother:
“I’m six years old. Mummy keeps telling me I’m her favorite. She tells me to come into her bed. It’s warm there. I fall asleep, snuggled beside her. I wake up. She’s moving my leg up and down over this hairy place between her legs. She’s breathing funny. I’m scared. [Sobs]. She opens her eyes a little and tells me it’s okay. My knee is wet. I try to pull away but she holds onto me, tells me to be a good boy, do this for Mummy. She seems out of breath. I’m scared. Then she shakes and cries out. I’m even more scared and I feel bad, like something’s really wrong. I ask Mummy if she’s all right. She turns to me with a big smile, hugs me and says I’m her little man and everything is fine. [More sobs, reddening of face].
“But everything is not fine. I don’t understand. Mummy tells me this will be our special secret. She seems happy. And she likes me best. So I keep quiet. And whenever she asks me I let her use my leg to rub her where she wants. [Later Ronald described other sexual activity his mother initiated]. I begin to like it, too. When I get old enough to have an erection, Mummy plays with my penis. I really like that. But at the same time it feels kind of weird. This stuff went on till I was eleven. I found out at school what sex was supposed to be, and how bad it was what Mummy and me had been doing. I felt sick.”
With psychotherapy while he relaxed in hypnosis, Ronald made some progress toward a healthier life, and control of his rage.
Unfortunately, his wife sabotaged the treatment. Ronald, like many sexually abused victims, had (unconsciously) sought out a woman who would continue the abuse he had suffered as a child.
Helen had made no secret of her broad sexual experience prior to meeting Ronald; indeed, she was proud of it. But her knowledge of the carnal world and his relative innocence (sex with only one woman: his mother) repeated the power pattern Ronald had suffered as a boy.
When Helen saw that Ronald was learning to control his rage, to lessen his hostile attitude and to relax, she counterattacked. Helen had married Ronald because (unconsciously) she wanted a man she could dominate and despise. His therapy threatened to upset the delicate dance of danger they had created.
Ronald was swiftly reduced to a sniveling, angry puppet when Helen sneered at his progress and repeatedly reminded him of what a Mummy’s boy he had been.
A final blow bounced Ronald out of therapy: Helen telephoned the therapist, discussed Ronald’s history, and insisted the therapist not mention her call to Ronald. The following week Helen casually mentioned to Ronald something the therapist had said to her. Ronald felt betrayed [he was] and never returned to therapy.
You may be doing very well with hypnotherapy when a friend or relative sabotages your progress. This is not usually as dramatic or underhanded as Helen’s behavior. The disruption comes in the form of doubt. Your friend may question the effectiveness of hypnosis, and cite the many hypnosis myths that still pollute our minds.
Once doubt is planted, hypnosis ends. Doubt and fear keep us from relaxation. And relaxation is the route into hypnotherapy.
Dennis, like Ronald, suffered fits of rage. Unlike Ronald, Dennis took these fits out on himself. He would tremble, and shake, and sweat and fear he was about to pass out. Dennis knew his ambition to become a police officer would never be realized unless he got over these fits. Like Ronald, he had troubled relationships with women.
Unlike Ronald, Dennis had slept with dozens of women. All his longer-term relationships collapsed over an aspect of jealousy, his or hers. Didn’t matter. Dennis could not trust a woman.
Dennis deliberately sought out a male psychotherapist who sometimes used hypnosis. But so scared was Dennis of going into hypnosis, that he spent several sessions in traditional psychotherapy before he had plucked up enough courage to try hypnosis.
Mothers Are Not The Only Women Who Abuse Little Boys
As far as Dennis knew, he had not been molested by his mother. Actually, he was not even sure who his biological mother was. He had been born into a large, extended criminal family. He had lived in seven different homes by the time he was five. All but one were homes of his aunts, cousins or siblings. He got used to calling each aunt in turn “mother.” The woman listed on his birth certificate showed no more, and no less, maternal interest in Dennis than did any of her sisters who raised him.
From as far back as he could remember, Dennis had been abused: abandoned, ignored, ill-fed, beaten, locked in a closet.
The therapist helped Dennis sort out the multitude of feelings that swirled within him.
Finally, Dennis said he was ready to try hypnosis. He was still frightened, despite the therapist’s explanations about the safety of the process. But it was not hypnosis itself that Dennis feared; it was what might be uncovered.
In one way, he was right to be wary. But what was uncovered, awful as it was, freed Dennis from the last symbolic chains that linked him to his abusive family and their criminal ways.
In hypnosis, Dennis traced his attacks of trembling to some disgusting sexual behavior of one of his aunts when he was about four. What she had done to him and with him amounted to torture. It had been so horrible he had repressed the details for years, though “I knew something had happened; I just didn’t know what.”
Now that he knew what lay at the root of his rage and his attacks, Dennis was able to let go of them. He felt forgiveness for his aunt because he knew of her own dreadful background. It was as if to know what she had done liberated Dennis from any lingering loyalty to his criminal relatives (all of whom were involved in drug deals, prostitution, extortion, etc.).
Now Dennis felt fully comfortable with his decision to apply to the local police training college.
*Blanchard, Geral. (1987). Male Victims of Child Sexual Abuse: A Portent of Things to Come, Journal of Independent Social Work, 1-1, 19-27.
Victims of childhood sexual abuse can become victors. Dr Bryan Knight — Canada’s foremost hypno-psychotherapist — writes about how adults can transform their lives despite such trauma: http://www.hypnosisdepot.com/Overcoming_Childhood_Sexual_Abuse.php
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