The Innocence of Man

Little Fisherman

Not surprisingly, Father’s Day is not my favorite of the Hallmark holidays.  I have never had a problem with Valentine’s Day, because being single is my choice.  I have never had a problem with Mother’s Day, because I am a mother.  I have always been able to make that day a celebration of me.  And well, who doesn’t like that?  I suppose that Father’s Day would be easier for me if the twins’ father was still alive, but I am not sure about that.

Of course, there is my obvious difficulty with Father’s Day.  I had a horrible father.  He was physically, sexually and emotionally abusive, and he sold me to others for sex as a child.  That is awful.  I will not celebrate him.  In addition to that, this day also represents the three-year anniversary of confronting my family about the abuse … not because I am vindictive, but because the circumstances demanded it.  Obviously, it did not go well.  There was defensiveness.  And I was immediately ostracized (as I expected).

Most might think that I have a general dislike for all men.  Some women who are sexually abused by their fathers choose to blame the entire male population, and I don’t judge them for that.  I am not one of those women.  I have not had a successful intimate relationship at this point in my life, but I do have male friends, and they are pretty nice guys.  I see them as fathers, and they are doing a great job.  However, my ability to view men as good people comes from another relationship.  I have a son.

I can say without a doubt that men are not inherently evil because I know my son.  I see all men differently, because I can see him.

I see him struggle to express his fear about finding his place in this scary world.  I see him trying to work it all out in his head.  I see him trying to control something –anything – because it makes him feel safe … not because of some kind of power he wants to have.  Someday, someone is going to tell him that having power will make everything better, but it won’t be me.

I see him struggle with society’s norms.  He is not allowed to like pink or purple because he is a boy.  He is not allowed to cry because he is a boy.  He is not allowed to have his feelings hurt by his friends because he is a boy.  Right now, he still cries.  Someday, someone is going to tell him not to cry because he is a boy, but it won’t be me.

I see him give love so unconditionally that it scares me.  He has never met a stranger.  He gives me hugs and tells me he loves me all day long.  He loves connecting with other people on a deep level.  He wants to be loved, and he wants to love.  Someday, someone will tell him that boys don’t show love so openly, but it won’t be me.

I can only imagine the difficulty that men have trying to conform to society’s expectations when it goes against their human nature.  I see my son trying to reconcile it and it is almost tragic.  I guess that some men are not able to conform to the external demands and stay healthy on the inside.  I am not making excuses for men who choose to victimize others, but I am saying that I see how some could have veered off track.

I don’t know where my recovery journey will take me.  Even though it is something I want, I don’t know if I will be able to trust enough to have a healthy intimate relationship.  However, the relationship with my son has taught me that there is innocence in men.  I know it because I see it.

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11 thoughts on “The Innocence of Man

  1. The man who raised you was not a father. That’s all I have to say about him. He believed he owned you and could do with you what he wanted. That is not “fathering.” Fathering means protecting and nurturing your child. I’m sorry you did not have that. I really and truly am.

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  2. Sorry Fathers day is so difficult.

    How you’ve written about your son is just…can’t think of the word but he’s so fortunate to have a mother that loves him as you clearly do.
    Hi Elisabeth,

    I agree with Ashana; that man was not a ‘father’. to you by any stretch of the imagination, though I personally struggle with truly recognising my own in the way that you have.

    This post has given me the little bit of hope, so thank you.

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  3. This touches my heart to the core and yes, sometimes we men struggle against being told not show to emotions and our natural instinct to be who we really are on the inside. I`m glad for you that not all men are in error thinking and that you put no limitations on your sons abilities to be open to and give love. A Fellow Traveler.

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    • Thank you John. It is so good to have your perspective too. When men and women work together as mothers, sons, fathers and daughters, things will have to get better. They will have to.

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  4. I survived a violent, alcoholic, critical narcissistic father and feel uplifted from my journey, but what you, Stella and a few others have survived amazes me.

    incredible is the word for your resilience and letting go of judgment. You could easily judge men as evil as many do, it is the easy path , not a happy path but easy.

    It takes work, courage and dedication to heal, to let go, to trust again, to live fully.

    I salute you as I gain inspiration from others.

    It appears to me no matter what specifically happens to us in childhood, the shame, low self image, far, terror, resentment and anger are the same.

    It makes me smile that some find inspiration and healing from my blog as you light a path for others also.

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    • Thank you so much for your kindness. I look forward to your inspiration every day. You have a way of expressing complicated topics in a way that really speaks to me. I always find myself saying, “Exactly!” when I read your posts.

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  5. looking at God as my Father in Heaven has helped me. Also, male friends who are totally like your son and have respect for women are the only reason why I still can be in the same room as other men. Praying for strength and healing for you.

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