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This has been weighing on my mind for some time now and I feel like I… 
18th-Aug-2006 02:58 am
This has been weighing on my mind for some time now and I feel like I just need to get it all out.

I warn you, there's some lengthy rambling ahead.

When I was 12 or 13 I found child pornography on our family's computer, which obviously belonged to my dad. Back then I had no idea it was illegal and (this disgusts me now) was actually curious about it and would click on all the pictures that had been downloaded.

When I got older I knew it was wrong and so I started deleting it as soon as I saw it. I didn't want to tell anyone about it, I just thought that if I didn't say anything it would eventually stop and I could just forget about it. By now I would find video searches left in the Kazaa search box for porn movies and I think I may have even stumbled upon a video that didn't get deleted. My songs were also getting deleted along with the daily porn and I was getting fed up so one day I wrote on a post-it note "Stop deleting my stuff to download porn" and stuck it on the computer before I went out. When I came back home it was gone and my dad never said anything. I thought that would be the last of it.

When I was in gr. 12, I went downstairs one time and found my dad's Yahoo Messenger window still up. I started talking to one of the people on the list and asked her what he had told her. Apparently he had said that he was 18 and had been talking to her. I told her the truth and then went to show my mom. She kept saying "Oh there must be some mistake". When we confronted my dad he tearfully told us that he had no idea how old the girl was and that he was just on there talking to people about sailing. He claimed he wasn't like that. My mom thought this was a reasonable explanation and asked me what I thought. I said I knew he was a liar, but I didn't say anything about the other porn I had seen. I don't know why I didn't, I guess maybe I just felt pressured with both of them just standing right in front of me. Plus my mom said something along the lines of "Well now my Thanksgiving is ruined" which didn't really help my situation.

After I graduated I moved out and lived on my own, keeping the secret with me. I hadn't realized until a short while ago how much it had affected me. I can't stand to have my dad hug me, I feel dirty every time he does. I also hate being alone in the car with him. And it disgusts me when I see him around kids. I also don't like people in general touching me and I feel uncomfortable around older men. And I remember I used to feel paranoid when I was a teenager, always wondering if he was spying on me coming out of the shower with a hidden camera or things like that.

Finally, a few months ago I started talking to a girl online and I confessed my secret to her. She was the only person I told. I thought I would feel better if I got it all out in the open, but I just felt worse and began to think about it constantly. I tried to see a counselor, but being a poor college student, I didn't have enough money to keep going.

I realized that I was starting to hate my life; going to classes I wasn't interested in anymore (and feeling uncomfortable in my Child Psych class because of what I'd seen) and working a job I hated. Some friends of mine offered to let me stay with them in Texas and I told my mom, but she didn't want me to go. I felt like this would be a good opportunity for me to get away from everything and just try to sort out my life and also, if I was no longer relying on my parents to provide for me (they were paying my rent) I felt like I could finally tell my mom the truth about my dad.

Anyway, I attempted to just run away without their knowledge, it backfired and the whole thing blew up in my face. I told my mom and my sister about my dad and then we had a big family meeting that I was hoping to avoid by not being in the country when I told. But due to some complications I was still stuck there and had to talk to everyone.

My dad confessed to what he did, but kept trying to shift the blame or make himself seem more innocent by saying "Some guy showed me it!" or "I was just curious!" My mom kept claiming that she knew he "wasn't like that" and they seemed to think that by him just admitting what he'd done that everything would be just fine.

My sister completely turned against me and blamed me, asking me "Why didn't you say something sooner if it was such a big issue?!" or "If it was so bad why didn't you work harder in school to get a scholarship so you could go to school far away?!" Despite the fact that my dad confessed, it still seemed like she thought I made the whole thing up just to get a free ride to Texas. The whole time she kept crying and saying "I love you dad" and sitting with him and I wanted to punch her. She didn't have to completely turn on my dad, but she should have supported me. My whole family made me feel guilty and acted like I was being so unreasonable and that I should just forgive me dad.

I'm in Texas now and it seems like nothing back home has changed. My dad still goes about his daily business, he still goes out to ballgames where there are children present and the little girls I used to babysit still come over and visit. My mom still insists that he's not a pedophile and that he would never hurt anyone. But I want to know what kind of person likes to look at kiddie porn and isn't a pedophile!

At least he agreed to go see a psychologist, but I don't think that's going to help. Sex offenders can't be cured. The good news is that the little girls I used to babysit are moving away. So I can feel a little better now.

I remember my mom telling me "Your dad's upset because he thinks he ruined your life" and I felt bad so I said "No, he didn't." But now I'm not so sure. I mean, I don't have a dad anymore. To me, he's dead, I don't know if I can ever forgive him for what he did. Not to mention the other issues I have now with older men and who knows what else could crop up in the future.

This has ruined my life, but I feel like someday I'll be able to get over it. But right now I have a lot to work through.

I feel like I'm stuck between two places right now. On the one hand I don't feel like I can really call myself a victim because nothing happened to me personally, but yet I don't feel normal because I had to see all that stuff and because of the damage it's caused my family. So far I haven't found anyone else who's had a similar experience to mine and I feel so alone.
18th-Aug-2006 03:46 pm (UTC)
That's horrible. I hate how everytime I hear a story similar to this in this community that it almost always ends with the rest of the family getting mad at the victim. You've been through things that no one should have to go through. I agree, this is a good place for you. Welcome!
18th-Aug-2006 04:27 pm (UTC)
I think this is a great place for you to be. What you went through was seriously traumatic, to know that your father was looking at child pornography, to have him stealing hard drive space by deleting your music to support his habit. It's maybe not the conventional idea of abuse - but it was seriously traumatic, and the rejection you felt at the hands of your family is something so many survivors have also gone through.

I'm sure it must be more difficult for you because it wasn't a situation where you felt it was clearly abuse - "covert abuse" which is what you went through, often leave serious lasting traumatic effects. Judith Herman (author of Trauma & Recovery) talks a lot about the major effects of covert abuse in her books.

Though my situation was a bit different (my dad sexually abused me on top of his child pornography obsession), I went through similar things. I found child pornography a lot as I got older and my abuse lessened. I freaked out, and just kept deleting it. When confronted, my father did the same thing - denied it all and made out like I was using his "curiosity" against him. Just knowing your father was being deceptive on that level is seriously traumatic, so I empathize a lot with you and what you went through. My abuse aside - the constant battle with him over the kiddie porn was seriously traumatic - and I can understand completely how it can effect your trust of older men and the entire world around you.

I'm glad at least he's seeing a psychologist. While his denial of his problem put serious hurdles in front of an already daunting road to *stopping* that sort of behaviour, it's good he has a professional watching over him to an extent.

But yes - welcome to the group - you are *definitely* welcome here
18th-Aug-2006 07:55 pm (UTC)
I have no problems welcoming you here. You're trust in your dad and even in the rest of your family has been betrayed, and you should never have had to deal with your dad's addiction. In my opinion, he is a pedophile, no matter how much he or the rest of your family denies it. You are absolutely right to feel uncomfortable with him.
18th-Aug-2006 10:39 pm (UTC)
I can actually sorta relate to this, although I guess what I experienced wasn't quite as bad because it wasn't child porn. but it really bothered me. I was about 11 or 12, and I heard my mom blowing up my dad for looking at porn, and while they were fighting in front of me, I saw the chatrooms he had been going to, about lesbians, "friends of Bill W." (founder of AA), singles in town. He promised not to do it anymore, giving similar excuses, like he was curious, or he accidentally clicked on a link in an e-mail. One day, I asked my dad to air up my bike tire, and when I looked at the computer, I read their conversation. I learned a new word, "horny". I didn't even know what that meant, and I remember it popping in my brain sometimes, and how I would try to figure out what it meant, always feeling that it was something bad I shouldn't be thinking about. However, eventually I learned, and I felt so weird around my dad, wondering if he was faithful to my mom when he was going to all these chatrooms to meet women in the area. I also saw him as a liar after that, like he couldn't be trusted by me or my mom since he said he would stop and then obviously didn't. I didn't like being around him, and I didn't like for him to hug me, and I still don't like to be touched by him. It made puberty, which I already hit at a really young age, seem extremely awkward. I know plenty of kids are exposed to much worse than this, but it still shattered my picture of reality at the time and made me think about things I wasn't ready for.

One time when I was mad at my dad, I told my mom what I knew, and she just preferred not to discuss it, and didn't even like the fact that I bought it up. She is the queen of denial when it comes to certain things. My family keeps quiet about anything bad, and issues, such as their fighting and my dad's alcoholism (which landed him in jail a couple times and rehab when I was little) have never been discussed even once, since they happened when I was young and I suppose my parents think I don't remember. They have tried to make everything picture perfect since I was young. I know they love me dearly and that parents aren't perfect, but it still bothered me and still bothers me today that everything I remember is not open for discussion.

I think the way I witnessed them deal with their problems has affected how I feel about myself. I learned early on that even my own parents have dark secrets. I always felt like on the outside I could seem to be good at everything but on the inside I was all messed up. I felt like my family was living a lie behind a white picket fence--even though they acted a certain way to me, I never felt I knew who they were inside because they would only ever talk about superficual matters.

Sorry this is so long! This post just reminded me of what I experienced somewhat. I never thought it affected me that much, but it definitely did change the way I thought at the time.

I think if you have a chance to get counselling, it would be good for you. It is hard to resolve complex matters, especially about your parents on your own, so they could offer you some good perspective. I think you did the right thing by telling your family, even though it backfired, so you should feel brave that you did that. I think it's good that you are away from it, so hopefully you can start to heal. I think the fact that you are able to speak so honestly about it now shows that you are already becoming stronger in dealing with it.
11th-Dec-2006 07:35 am (UTC)
i am glad you are here.

i hope it helps.
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