The part of my sexual abuse that is the most disturbing for me is the fact that my perpetrator groomed me for his own pleasure. The deception and trust that was broken had lasting effect on how I viewed every relationship thereafter. Perpetrators seems especially keen and adept at finding young men and women who are in great need for mentors and significant relationships.
I didn’t have a great relationship with my parents, and since I lived a good distance from most of my classmates, I found it especially hard to make good, lasting friendships. It always seemed that everyone else was hanging out with each other, doing things together, and had little cliques that I couldn’t just be a part of. Feeling constantly left out, I desperately sought attention wherever I could find it.
It was easy for my perpetrator to zero in on my needs. I didn’t do much to cover up my need for affirmation, connection, and friendship. He used that within our first meeting, and I was hooked. He only had to be patient and build my trust and faith in him so that when he abused me, I was completely convinced it was something I wanted as well.
As easily as the trust between us was built, it was equally as easy to feel the betrayal of his abuse. The only thing that was different is that I had all those prior poor experiences with friendships that confirmed that I needed to wall myself against everyone else. In order not to feel the pain and hurt from a broken trust, I needed to isolate myself from everyone, so that I could just live in my private agony by myself.
It took a long time to trust others again, and it was by no means immediate. I’ve had a lot of hours of therapy to realize that I need to set appropriate boundaries, understand some realistic expectations, and be patient with others and myself to develop healthy friendships.