Sunday, September 22, 2013

You Need Help

Identify yourself as a pedophile online and the title is certain to be one of the first things you get in response. Unfortunately, it might well be true, just not in the way the person saying it means.

Being attracted to young people is not illness, and not evil. You are absolutely not sick or wrong for having the feelings and preferences that you do. I want to make that absolutely crystal clear.

But this society is hard to live in for even the most normal, conformist members of the citizenry. Stress builds up and we are none of us immune to any number of traumatic experiences and losses. In short, everyone needs help from time to time, and that is the entire point of having the psychiatric profession in the first place.

Unfortunately, with all medical issues, trust is an absolutely essential element. Doctor-patient confidentiality exists in order to facilitate a relationship of trust with your health care provider, so you can give them enough information for them to help you solve whatever problem is troubling you. And doctor-patient confidentiality has a pretty big hole in it where our kind is concerned.

Psychiatrists are mandatory reporters. Not only is their professional ethic accepting of them violating confidentiality in cases of suspected child abuse, they are, in fact, legally required to do so. For the intelligent and sane among them, simply acknowledging your attraction to minors is not going to be enough to trigger this requirement in their minds, but unfortunately, we have no way of knowing if this individual psychiatrist is that intelligent or sane until we've already placed ourselves in his/her power.

Setting aside the risks of involuntary commitment and the unfortunate role members of this profession have in getting minors to "acknowledge" that they were abused, there is the simple, but very real threat of being forcibly outed. And the more psychiatrists you shop around for looking for one that fits, the more times you have to put your life and future in the hands of a total stranger.

There are times I really want to take my critics up on their advice to get help. The general stress of living life, combined with the added dose of living mostly closeted and constantly bombarded by negative messages about my kind, seasoned with some comparatively minor stress tied to gender role conformity, and I'd very much welcome the assistance of a competent, trained professional to help me sort out the parts that are actually a problem. I'd even be willing to keep shopping around until I find someone willing to not treat my orientation as something that needs to be cured, if I could just be assured that there is something meaningful actually holding them back from telling others what I've said. Unfortunately there isn't. At least nothing credible.

Having no one to turn to, having to deal with all of our problems ourselves, and within our own hidden, isolated internet communities is hurting us. I have zero concern I'm going to snap and rape someone in a fit of sexual frustration. I am concerned occasionally that I might be driven to self-harming behaviors or that the stress might build up in me to the point of having me snap at my friends and loved ones and isolate myself because I don't know how to deal with the stress well enough.

I care about other people, especially those suffering through the dark place of believing society's lies when they're called monsters. But even I get tired. Even I reach a point where the stress gets to a breaking point. I'm not a perfect person, and I've got plenty of unresolved issues. I may have gotten past the self-loathing that comes with the fear that society is right about me being a rapist just waiting to happen, but I'm still vulnerable to burnout and some days the constant barrage of hatred still manages to get to me even when I know it's nothing but ignorance and lies.

For those sane, competent psychiatrists out there, who feel I'm being unfair, please recognize this comes from a place of fear. Let us know you're willing to keep this particular brand of secret, and we'll come and be grateful for the opportunity to try, even if we don't click.

For everyone who's run that gauntlet themselves and found someone who knows the difference between a pedophile and a child molester (in potential or otherwise), please don't keep this person a secret from the rest of us.


  1. It's odd, but I never really took the prejudices of society against our kind too personally. I mean by now you obviously know that the two of us think totally differently, but even before I became a Hare Krishna I took that uneducated prejudice as just another aspect of our twisted society. It was only a few decades ago that homosexuals were in the position we are, and it's only with a very grudging tolerance that they're accepted in many parts of the world today. No matter how you look at the world - from the political perspective where we watch idly as dictators slaughter hundreds of thousands, from an economic perspective where the world is divided between the rich and the starving with no guilty conscience on anybody in the West, or from a social perspective where we still condemn anything that's considered abnormal. The world is twisted from every perspective, and so I took solace in knowing that the stigma against pedophilia is just one aspect that fits in with a very broad landscape of total backwardness.

  2. It isn't so much that I take things personally. As I've noted before, I consider what you and I have to deal with because of our orientation fairly trivial when compared with the systematic injustices perpetrated against children. But I don't like trying to quantitatively compare suffering, and I think oppression olympics arguments are a waste of time and energy.

    This is more about the fact that we all need someone from time to time. Spiritually-minded folks might seek solace in the advice of their religious teachers, and might well be able to expect discression. The Catholics, for all their flaws, have a great deal of respect for the importance of the seal of the confessional. But for those of us living a more secular life, it's problematic that the people who's job is to help us through life's difficulties and keep our private business private are not only allowed, but mandated to betray that confidence in the case of you or I, meaning we have to get by without the help that anyone else having trouble could avail themselves of.

    Life isn't fair. Just because it isn't personal doesn't mean it isn't wrong.

  3. Ran across something that might be of interest in answering my own ending plea.