A Road Less Traveled - How Do You Love A Pedophile
Updated: Oct 26, 2019
Two roads diverged in a wood and I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. - Robert Frost
"How do I love and support a pedophile?"
It's a question most would probably not know how to answer, but the answer is easier than you think: you probably already do.
I know what you are probably thinking right now: "That can't be true because no one I love and care about would ever harm a child!" -- and in that you are probably correct. But the truth is that doesn’t change that someone in your life is probably going to be attracted to children.
What is also true is that most pedophiles will never offend and that most child sexual abuse cases are committed by people who are not attracted to children (between 60% and 80%).
But you didn’t decide to read this blog to hear stats. Chances are the reason you clicked on this was that someone in your life felt brave enough to tell you about their attraction and now you don’t know where to turn.
Although everyone and every circumstance is different, if you decided to take the road less traveled and still include them in your life, you are probably going to be asking yourself these common questions:
“How do I support them?”
“Are they going to harm a child?”
“Should I get them professional help?
I’m going to break each of those questions down by telling you how my loved ones (that I “came out” to) worked through them.
How Do I Support Them?
When I decided to finally admit my attraction to my immediate family, I had been dealing with it for 16 years on my own -- since the onset of puberty.
For 16 years, I had felt like I was living a double life, and the life I kept secret from the world was slowly killing me and keeping me from fulfilling my true potential. So at 29 years of age, I finally decided enough was enough. It was time to stop living the lie, no matter what the outcome would be.
"Yes I'm attracted to children, but I never offended and nor do I ever want to."
When I finally said those words to my brother (after him prodding me on our phone call for what felt like forever) it felt as if someone sucked all of the air out of my body.
"Did I just admit to something I never thought I could?"
"What's going to happen now?"
I prepared for the worst, but then my brother said, "We are going to help you and get you the support you need."
Support. For my mother, father, and brother, that meant three separate things. Even though all of them set out with the best intentions, only one of them had long term positive effect.
"Nothing can change my love for you, and I will try to understand and help you whatever way you need." - Mother
"This makes no sense to me and I can't face it, so I'm just going to pretend it doesn't exist and move on." - Father
"It's my job to find a solution to this problem, and he is going to have to follow what I say or I don't believe he actually wants help." - Brother
I'm sure you can figure out which out of the three worked the best, but before I get to that one let me address the other two.
"This makes no sense to me and I can't face it...." My dad has never been good at facing life's big dramas. He'd rather bury his head in the sand and expect everything to work out in the end, so it really didn't surprise me when he decided to take this approach with me.
But this led to us never having any type of deep meaningful conversations. Any time I would dare to bring something up about how I was dealing with a particular issue, he would shut me down by changing the subject or just give me a blank stare. This made me never really want to include him in my life, and I normally would find excuses not to be with him.
This is a decision I now regret, due to the fact that he has Alzheimer’s and doesn’t even know who I am anymore. I would give anything to have those generic moments back, but at the same time I still wish there could have been stronger bond between us.
"It's my job to find a solution to this problem...." My brother, since the time when my Dad left the house when my parents first separated, felt like the survival of the family rested on his shoulders. He thought that he was the older brother, and it was his duty to protect me and provide what was best for me.
Given that fact and his tendencies for perfection and narcissism, he decided that it was all on him to get me "better".
Now, don't get me wrong: if it wasn't for him noticing that something wasn't right with me, I might still be living in the shadows. But other than that and helping me get into therapy, everything he decided to do was for the most part completely incorrect.
He told me that keeping my attraction a secret was the ultimate lie and betrayal. This made him not trust anything that I would say.
When I had to quit seeing my first therapist due to lack of funds, he couldn't understand that. He thought that meant that I wasn't trying hard enough and that I actually wanted to be attracted to kids.
When I finally was able to get back into therapy, he thought that all I should be doing was working on a way to "cure" myself.
After he found out about me, our relationship slowly declined to the point where he now refuses to have me a part of his life.
He feels that, because I didn't follow his plan to get "better", it will only be a matter of time before I offend and he is so afraid that I will bring him down with me. By not including me in his life, it will give him plausible deniability if something happens.
Now that I let you know what didn't help, let's moved on to what did.
"Nothing can change my love for you..." Everyone knows that there is nothing like a mother's love, but what if that has to be put to the ultimate test?
The first night of my mother knowing about me was probably the most open I ever have been in letting her know what having this attraction was for me. In hindsight, I realize this was probably the worst thing I could of done, but I was so tired of keeping this part of me locked away that I needed to get it all out. For some reason, I already knew that she, out of everyone, would be the one who could hear all of that and not run away
My family has know about me now for 12 years and, in that time, my mother has been the one who is the best example for me on what you can do to provide support.
In the early years, it was not smooth sailing. I didn't know how to let her know what I needed, and she felt as if there was nowhere to turn to for guidance. We have had some rough spots over that period, where things were said that were extremely hurtful, but we kept on moving forward.
It wasn't until this past year that things have really taken the turn for the better. After needing to stop therapy for the umpteenth time due to lack of money, I decided I'd had enough of relying on that process to make me feel good about myself. I began to see if anything had changed in the ways of providing proper support online.
That is when I discovered "The Global Prevention Project" and their podcast. I began listening to the episodes by myself and soon realized that my mom actually might gain some insight through the things that were being discussed about minor attraction. So far, I hadn't been able to vocalize those things.
She agreed to listen to a few, and soon it became a tradition for us. Anytime a new episode was release, we would get together, listen, and discuss. It, along with being supported by online communities, has made our understanding of each other a lot better.
Since the beginning of the year, we have not had any serious disagreements. If she needs to ask me the best way to support me, she will, and I feel comfortable discussing things that weren't possible before.
The best advice I can give you on how to offer support is to be willing to listen and also seek support if needed, but let your loved one know. Just keep the honesty flowing.
Are They At Risk To Offend?
This does not have an easy answer, but I know for me that it wasn't a possibility. I knew the affects of being abused and would never want to put another child through that.
But that didn't change the fact that both my mother and brother had a tough time believing me, and my brother still questions if it is possible.
The fact that your loved one came to you and decided to let you know that they have this attraction is a good sign. It shows they want accountability, and you should ask them if they feel like they might offend.
I know that it will be a hard thing to judge and, if you feel that you need to be there at first if they are around children, just let them know that. Explain to them your thoughts and feelings, without judgement.
Should I Get Them Professional Help?
Again, this does not have a easy answer. When I first told my family, I was just expected to start therapy right away. It is what everyone thought was needed because they thought otherwise I might offend, The didn't take into consideration that 16 years had passed of me dealing with it on my own.
But truth be told, I welcomed the therapy. I knew that I wasn't at risk of offending and that I had no "urges" that were out of control, but I did have a lot of other issues that needed addressed. Things such as low self-esteem, how to deal with the hatred, acceptance, confidence building, and so much more.
I want to make this clear, though: if you are expecting a therapist to be able to use "conversion therapy" to alter their attraction, it will not work.
You might not believe it, but pedophilia is a sexuality and there are a lot of emerging studies that support this. Please visit our "Resources" page to better understand. Just as with any other sexuality, it cannot be changed or altered.
Compassion And Understanding
The road forward is not going to be smooth -- I won't lie to you -- but it will ultimately lead to greater connection with whomever your loved one with minor attraction is, as well as a greater acceptance of other people's problems and concerns.
There are a great many resources that are now easily available. You are not in this alone.
Listed below is a small list of those resources and, if you would like to ask a question of me, please visit the "Contact Us" page and fill out the form.
B4UAct - Support For Family And Friends
The Global Prevention Project - Web Based Support For Family And Friends
#pedophilia #mentalhealth #endthestigma #nomap #family #compassion #understanding