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  • Writer's pictureJ.L. Whitehead


Isolation is one of the worst side effects of being an abuse victim. The hardest thing about being a victim is carrying a secret around with you that you never wanted to carry to begin with. I had no idea that from the age of six, the wiring in my brain had been changed. The man that I would have been was lost to a preoccupation with sex that I had no way of escaping. I simply accepted it is as part of who I was at the time which caused low self-esteem.

I acted out with other neighborhood boys until I was violently reminded that this type of behavior was not acceptable in our household. Normal interactions between boys turned into opportunities to look for sex. It was always in the forefront of my mind. I could never get away from it.

This was exacerbated by being abused by three different men who used three different grooming methods. This left me confused and my self-confidence destroyed…that is, until I found the gift of writing.

Between the grades of five through eight, I walked with my head held low. The self-imposed isolation was overwhelming, and I didn’t know why. I thought that in some instances, I wanted the attention from one of my abusers. The second abuser was a teacher that I had no sexual interest in; but he was an authority figure and I felt like I couldn’t say, “no.”

Isolation is a horrible thing. In my case, I didn’t want the average person to see my insecurities and shortcomings. I was afraid that if they did, they would challenge me and take what little possessions I had.

I walked to school carefully avoiding anyone’s gaze unless they proved to be friendly, which wasn’t that often in the hood. My steps were quick, but I clearly remember speaking to adults as I made my way to school. It seemed like conversations with adults were easy in the morning and I felt safe in the company of someone older than me, which is probably where some of my problems began. I can easily lay all of this at the feet of my father, but I’ve wasted too much time and energy blaming him for the choices he made.

Somewhere, I must regain some of what I’ve lost. And since I have no way of knowing who the man is that I would have become, I must assume that he would be one with self-confidence…one where he always walks with his held high and will defend what is his at all costs.

It feels like it took me forever to regain my self-confidence minimally. I no longer second guess decisions that I make after prayer to God (or my higher power.) Most importantly, I’m trying not to look at myself through the lens of myself but rather through the lens of my God. I believe that my God is all knowing and that the lessons I’ve learned along the way are lessons that needed to be taught to me so that I can live a fruitful life.

The isolation I walked in was horrible and it grew progressively worst as I met and entwined my life with people that would exploit the weaknesses and insecurities that I tried to hide. It wasn’t until I got into my late twenties that I decided what I would accept in relationships as well as what I wouldn’t.

I learned how to let my light shine without dimming anyone else’s.

That’s probably the most important lesson of them all.

I just wish it hadn’t taken so long.

Please see link to my YouTube channel on this topic:

~ J.L. Whitehead

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