When I began this blog, I felt like God was calling me to be real person working out his real struggles in the presence of a real God. To throw a rescue rope into the vast ocean that many people are drowning in. While I am enjoying freedom in many areas of my struggle, God is still busy excavating the cerebral, trash heaps in my head. Lately, he has been pointing his finger at an area of emotional dependency rooted in abandonment issues that have plagued me since childhood. This blog is about to get as real as I can without an NC-17 rating. I am not trying to entice or excite. However, my abandonment issues are hopelessly swaddled in the sordid sexual experimentation of my youth. I have moments when I wish this were someone else’s story. I refuse to spend my days wishing for a cleaner, less humiliating past. My tragic past is the only reason I know Jesus Christ as my savior.
I have been lonely a lot. Fear and low self-esteem have kept from establishing relationships. At any one time, my life has consisted of many acquaintances and one or two deep friendships. One symptom of my abandonment issues is huge insecurities in my close friendships with straight guys. They are so rare to me that I guard them like a rabid Pit bull. I’m very possessive. That’s when having only one or two close relationships becomes a liability. It’s an “Emotional eggs all in one basket” scenario, especially if I have invested heavily into the relationship. If anything changes, I begin to execute a series of habitual, almost reflexive maneuvers to prevent relationship failure. Before I know it I can be knee deep in the fire of emotional dependency. Then fear of Emotional dependency keeps me making new friendships. I believe this is fallout from my same sex attractions. I am currently talking with two other SSA strugglers who are dealing with the same issues.
You might have to read this blog twice. It is random and convoluted. I am just now beginning to unpack it myself. Writing this simply was like trying to stack water droplets.
The roots of my abandonment go back to my childhood. My connection with mom and other women in my life was strong. The connection with the men in my life, my father and brother, was not always positive. I know there was a point where my relationship with my dad was important to me. As I grew older, a rift began to appear and one day my father was no longer emotionally available. He became a staunch disciplinarian. My connection with my brother, from the age of six, was tainted with pornography and masturbation. My first real intimate connection with my brother was when he introduced me to porn. I learned how to masturbate by watching him. The stage was set for big issues to ensue.
My brother was molested at the age of 13. Sometime after, my father and my brother disappeared from the window of my life and a cousin took their place. My cousin was a year or two older. Our connection involved a lot of sexual experimentation for a number of years. I connected with him on an intimate basis. We would spend the night at one another’s house and hang out together. I remember always hoping that we would get some time alone to experiment once again. Our last interaction left a huge void in my life. It was the summer before our 8th grade year. The experimentation finally went to the level of intercourse. We started and ended up stopping. We were both still aroused, so we decided to finish with oral sex. He promised if I performed oral sex on him, that he would reciprocate. When he was finished, he got dressed and started to leave. I freaked out. I reminded him of his promise. He didn’t care. It was a trick he had played on me before. I always relented. I enjoyed the interaction. Towards the end of our time together, he had gotten to the point of “take or leave it”. He was never as interested in touching me as I was him. That was a terrible day for me. Not only was it our last interaction, he said some hurtful things. I remember pursuing him out of our house, pulling at his clothes with desperation in my voice as I begged and pleaded for reciprocation. He kept walking. He told me that we were too old to do this anymore, we were almost in 8th grade and people would call us queers.
A lot happened in my head that day. I felt used. I felt inferior. I wondered how in the world he could turn off his feelings so easily. My desire to be with him sexually pervaded my every thought. It was a turning point in our relationship. He went on to become the super stud jock of our class. I went on to suffer in silence as the effeminate, smart kid with secret same sex attractions. Abandonment took root that day. I would be plagued with it for years. I was the guy who desperately needed the companionship of other guys in my life. It seems like every guy on the planet could give two shits about relationships. That served to further alienate me from my peers. I felt like a being from another world. I was forced to establish fantasy relationships with the guys in pornography, while the real emotional connection side of my life died inside my heart. Instead of living life in the real world where interactions with guys always ended in pain, I retreated to a fantasy world where I got a false sense of intimacy with guys “like me”. Disconnected from real men and lost a world of pornography and masturbation, the seeds of abandonment gave way to the roots of homosexuality.
All it would have taken was an interested, compassionate, straight man to model my life after and my fate would have been different. The call was instead answered by my uncle, a man who was soft spoken, kind and compassionate and interested in the things I liked. He just so happened to be gay. His interest led me to believe things about myself that I might not have believed otherwise.
The first guy I had sex with in college further enhanced my sense of abandonment. We used to have long talks about our gay desires. He was going to have electro shock therapy that summer in order to rid himself of the desires. That would be amazing to be free of the feelings I thought. A few weeks after we met, I realized that we never had sex unless he was drinking. Drinking was his mental anesthetic. We interacted for the last time on Good Friday of 1990. I knew I was going to hell for having sex on the anniversary of Christ’s crucifixion. The dynamics of our relationship weren’t much different than the relationship I had with my cousin. Bret was only in it for the sex. Once that was over, he was done. On that Friday, he was sober. In the middle of our interaction he told me that he felt stupid. What I perceived him to say was “You are stupid.” Not exactly the words you want to hear in that situation. We finished and parted ways. That was the last time I heard from him that semester. He simply cut me out of his life. I would see him on campus. He would completely ignore me. In a moment, the relationship was over. I was left feeling that I was at fault. I spent an entire summer wondering what I did and longing for the connection we’d had.
At the start of the next semester, Bret called me out of the blue. He said he was sorry. He said that he wanted things to be the way that they were. Any person in their right mind would have told him what he could do with his wants and wishes. I was not that person. I was the shy, fragile, broken, little boy in desperate need for connection. I chewed him out for a bit. Then got in my car and went to his apartment. Nothing happened, but it left the door open for future sexual connections.
Abandonment was now in full bloom. I continued to date guys, but I learned to keep my emotions locked up to avoid getting hurt. When it came to sex, it was a get in, get what I needed and get out mentality. I hurt a lot of guys that way. Many wanted long-term relationships. I couldn’t allow my heart to be damaged yet again.
Fast forward to modern day Matthew Walker. I began my walk away from homosexuality 14 years ago. God has brought healing and trauma care to my broken places. The Abandonment issue is something that God has started to put his finger on. For me emotional dependency and abandonment seem to go hand in hand. Although I know the roots of my abandonment, it seems to sneak up on me. One of my symptoms was to hold back emotionally from people or only give as much as they seem wiling to invest. Micromanaged relationships left me emotionally compromised.
God shed some light onto my wounding one night, while watching a movie with my roommate. Halfway through the movie, he got up and went to bed. I thought he would be back. When I realized I had been left alone, a huge hurt and abandonment reaction triggered. Did he owe me a courtesy, “See ya”? Maybe? Whether he did or not, it didn’t warrant the level of emotion I was feeling. Red flag. The same situation happened again. My emotions flared up. I was beginning to see a pattern. Over the next few weeks, God began to let people cancel appointments on me. I was livid at first. Then I realized that God was doing two things. He was purposefully clearing my calendar, so he could have my attention. He was also ridding me of the Pride that was taking root in my heart. Every time someone cancelled, my reaction was always the same, “My time is important. How rude! How dare they treat me with such disrespect.” God had a field day with that one.
“You make appointments and promises to spend time with Me all the time,” he said. “It doesn’t bother you to break them.” My take away? God is in control, Of Everything. If I won’t make time for Him, he will make time. People will make and break appointments all the time. I had to see it as part of his plan instead of an all out massive attack on Matthew Walker. I stopped letting the enemy frame every bad thing in my life as an attack or reason to be offended.
Abandonment is still a constant struggle. I react badly. I plot and plan elaborate schemes to prevent getting hurt. I pull away from my friends. I know the roots. I know that not every straight man is rough and tumbled and scared of my past. God is bigger than my issues. If Jesus Christ is my constant, then the random exits and entries of men in and out of my life aren’t a big deal.
God is faithful through all of this. This isn’t the first root of trauma in my life. It won’t be the last. God sees them all. He always knows when and where to perform the much-needed surgery.