I hurt for a long time because of childhood sexual abuse. Now I want to provide a safe place for hurting men to connect with other survivors of sexual abuse. Talk to us. You don't have to use your real name to share your experiences or ask questions.

The Shock

(This post is from Roger Mann.)

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I still remember the slow creeping shock that came over me when I first began to realize (or maybe I should say accept) what had happened to me as a boy. I had this fantasy of such a wonderful childhood that I clung to all my life. Clung to so desperately that it made my chest ache at times. Every time I heard about someone else’s wonderful childhood, I’d get angry and irritable and not know why. I should have been happy for them, but I was confused and angry and just wanted to go away.

I lost so much.

I can’t begin to tell you how sad and betrayed I felt. It took me awhile, going from weeping to rage and back to weeping for a week or so. I guess it was a grieving process, and I’m still not done. I’m almost 69 years old now, and it still stings. I’m tempted to list all of the might-have-beens that go through my mind still today, but I won’t.

It doesn’t matter. It is what it is.

Since the death of that denial somewhere back in early 2000, I have spent my life reluctantly but sincerely reaching out to others hurting from similar wounds and betrayal with sympathy and encouragement that I admit sometimes I didn’t feel myself. I share what was shared with me when I came looking for help with the pain. I share my experience as one who has traveled a well-worn part of this journey, pointing out pitfalls and traps that can keep one stuck in a particular sadness.

And I know those places well. I’ve had to learn how to recognize that I’m stuck and learn how to get unstuck and move on, even when I wanted so badly just to stay and wallow. And I’m not against a certain amount of wallowing. I earned it in spades.

But to heal, I have to crawl out of the pit and move on, which usually means climbing the ladder of forgiveness one more time. I sometimes hate that ladder, but it’s the only route for me to freedom and moving on.

Just my thoughts.


From a Wounded Man

This comes from Tommy, who gave me permission to post it on the blog. I think it would be wonderful if some of you would comment words of encouragement to him. (Cec)

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Through my wanderings searching for help, I found you on the internet and am about halfway through Not Quite Healed.

I am 58 years old, successful, married for 34 years to a terrific woman who I am crazy about, and absolutely devoted to my Boston Terrier who helps keep me sane because he loves unconditionally and is with me nearly all the time.

I have known for many years through a vague and foggy memory that I was severely physically, emotionally, and verbally abused. And yet every psychiatrist I saw asked the same question (paraphrasing): “Do you remember sexual abuse?” I didn’t. But when I read the characteristics of men who had been abused as boys, I met 17 or 18 of the 20 or so bullet points. And then my mom passed away, and as I was going through her things, I found a semi-pornographic picture (for the 1960s) of me. And I felt a flood of memories that were new but still the same fog and vagueness.

Since then, I can remember as clear as day never having privacy in the bathroom no matter what I was doing. I can remember my dad showing me his genitals. I remember “baths” with Dad. And I remember that picture. That picture haunts me. And I remember my mother forcing me to sleep in the bed with her until, at 18, I just said no and left.

I have nightmares. Awful nightmares. Snakes. Demons. Rickety high towers and ladders that make me feel like I’m falling. Rushing water that seems to overtake me. Sleep paralysis that has me neither sleep nor wakeful and yet I see the door to my bedroom opening. That’s all. Just an opening door.

I have inexplicable fits of rage. I have weeping that makes no sense, at a movie, for example. And I have sampled all the evil that this world has to offer, and it makes me sick to my stomach. I know God loves me, but I don’t know how to let God love me. I don’t blame God for what happened, but I do wonder why He let it happen. God help me!

I guess I would have to say that I am either on my first step or maybe a few steps into the realization that “my little boy” was really badly abused. My wife is a bit of a picture person, and there are pictures of me as a youth of various ages around the house. Sometimes I pick one up, with my wife present, and sob, asking, “How in the world could someone do that to that little boy?” My wife is completely supportive and yet clueless as to what to do, as am I.

I suppose I have many years of work to get through this horror that we have all felt and endured. But knowing that others have, helps me know that I can too.

I am seeing a therapist who has helped me get to the point that I am. We will slog on.

Thank you, and God bless you for your work with us.

The Disconnect

(This post comes from Roger Mann.)

I never questioned what was happening to me. Not really. We had a normal family and a normal family life. In fact, because we were Christians and deeply involved in church, at times I felt a quiet sense of superiority over some of the other kids I knew whose parents argued, drank a lot, or were divorced.

Normal is just what is going on around you.

As I got older, the disconnect became uncomfortable. I looked around at others my age and discovered that my experiences were not common; sometimes they even appeared rare.

At high school age, it’s difficult feeling different, wondering if others think and feel like you do. But when you KNOW you’re different, it’s a whole new level of crazy. That crazy pushed me, and I pushed back. I won most of the time, I thought, but around 28 or so I began to lose the war. I was tired, alone, and so confused. At some point, I gave up and allowed myself to experience all that had been going through my mind in the quiet darkness.

And the darkness, quiet or not, will get you. It sure got me. I spiraled down until I was suicidal enough to really try and end it all. But it didn’t work, and I realized I needed to get help. I tried a few therapists, but I just couldn’t form the words. They would stick in my throat, and all I could see was that I was betraying my father.

Weird, huh? Especially when considering he’s the one who betrayed me.

Eventually, it was get help or get out, and I finally was able in a session to blubber out the truth as I understood it. I can’t describe the relief and sense of betrayal that I felt, but it was worth it. After the dam broke, the tide came pouring out, and together we began to sort it out.

Painful? You bet. But as they say, pain is weakness leaving the body. The more we sorted, the stronger I began to feel. Truth hurts at times; it also heals if you let it.

Learning to Walk

(This post comes from Roger Mann.)

My wife’s grandson, who soon will be 9 months old, is starting to walk. He crawled for a bit a month ago but soon got the hang of that and pulled himself up to a standing position when he realized he could. It wasn’t long before he’d stand up all by himself, balancing well for a child his age. Two weeks ago, he started taking tentative steps. Now, although he falls frequently, he can manage four or five good steps at a time. He’s ahead of the game right now. I can see him running around before long with us having to chase him down.

It hit home that this is kind of like God giving me a picture of growing and walking in the spirit with Him. He’s given me a cool illustration of how difficult it is at first and how much grace I should extend to myself and others. The kid falls a lot, mostly on his butt, but occasionally he will wander near something hard and edgy and end up with a small bruise or mark on his face or head. Thank goodness for a cushy diaper or his butt would be black and blue.

It’s not just his lack of skill and balance that gives him trouble. Sometimes he’ll go exactly where he knows he shouldn’t. He’s learning the word no and what that means for him. Of course, he can’t understand why we get firm with him around electrical cords or things that could break. He just knows we’re restricting his freedom and he’s not happy about it.

That too reminds me of myself. There are many pleasurable things in the world that I’d love to indulge in, but Daddy says, “No.” Sometimes I’ll try to sneak off and indulge anyway. When I do, eventually (and sometimes immediately) I find out why they’re on the restricted list.

The point is this: Like God, I’m not angry with the kid. I’m trying to save him grief or permanent injury. I grew up with some scars for that very reason. I don’t want to have any more than necessary, but some seem to be necessary if I'm going to grow and learn.

As Darwin pointed out, there are those that live and learn; and those that just live.

Lesson: I cut myself some slack. I’m human. But in this vast universe of His, I’m a child, and Father knows best.

I Dreamed

(This comes from an anonymous reader.)

I awake to a memory of a girl I worked with. Can’t remember how it came up, but she was bragging that she couldn’t be raped because being limber she could cross her legs and lock them so no one could spread them. I just shook my head and walked away, remembering my arms locked around my legs, my knees under my chin lying on my back.

I don’t remember the pain. I do remember the smells: sweat, Old Spice, and poop. I remember the shock of cold as I was cleaned up. I remember using a bar of soap and hot water on the cloth in the morning so no one would see what was on it. I remember using the same cleaning technique on underwear when necessary. I remember telling myself it didn’t happen.

There are things I’ve locked away in a dark corner of my mind never to be remembered. Things I promised to take to my grave. But some things won’t stay. Truth can set you free, but it can also break your heart over and over. So what does one do with such things?

I write them out, trying to get them out. I try not to be numb about it, but I’m afraid. I’m afraid that if I let myself feel I’ll be unable to stop the tears ever.


From the News

In the 8 years I’ve been doing this blog, I’ve never quoted from a news report, but I think this piece from the Inquisitor is worth reading. It was posted on February 6, 2018. Terry Crews is an American actor, artist, and former American football player and was included in the group of people named as TIME Person of the Year for 2017.

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In October 2017, Terry Crews tweeted a series of honest, sad, and alarming messages.

“This whole thing with Harvey Weinstein is giving me PTSD. Why? Because this kind of thing happened to me.” He began to describe an encounter with an at-the-time-unnamed male executive who groped his genitals.

Terry said he feared how the incident would be reported, afraid that he could end up in jail. Hollywood and the public alike were shocked by Terry’s Twitter confession.

However, Terry’s unfortunate and frightening experience helped him understand those who have gone through similar things. It also helped him understand why victims of sexual harassment often choose to remain silent, he wrote in the same series of Twitter messages.

On the other hand, this has perhaps helped the rest of the public understand that these things can happen to anyone. Even men, former NFL players.

The public paid attention to Terry’s tweets, but until today, he had not addressed the elephant in the room properly — masculinity. The actor tweeted an interesting message today, along with a link to Esquire. Terry has finally spoken up what he calls the “man code.” He considers this phenomenon to be a subtle, unspoken cult of masculinity.
It’s the backlash I experienced when I came forward with my story: men who were angry that, at first, I didn’t name my abuser; men who questioned why I didn’t fight back, who said I let him do it, who said I must’ve wanted it, who said I must be gay. The man code is why I endured the male version of a female survivor being asked, “What were you wearing?”
Celebrities like Isaiah Washington, Gabrielle Union, and Tyler James Williams expressed support for the Brooklyn Nine-Nine actor, BET reported, after the same online magazine had pointed out lack of Hollywood’s response to Terry Crews’ attempt to call out his assaulter.[1]

[1] https://www.inquisitr.com/4774448/terry-crews-on-metoo-and-the-backlash-he-experienced/

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A note from Cec's assistant: As you may know, Cec's new book, More Than Surviving: Courageous Meditations for Men Hurting from Childhood Abuse, is scheduled to release soon and is available for pre-order now. We've recently learned the significance of pre-orders.They give the publisher leverage to convince retailers to carry the book and to give it a spot on their shelves. And we want the book to have as much exposure as possible! It carries an important message of hope and offers healing to hurting men. If you plan on ordering it, would you consider ordering it now and encourage others to do the same? Thank you for your help in making sure More Than Surviving is successful!


By Roger Mann

Every now and again I hear a word or phrase that triggers me for some reason. The other night in a playful mood my wife said something about me deciding to attack her or not. Don’t really remember the whole thing but that word attack hit me cold.

​I’ve been attacked. I don’t remember ever attacking anyone else. I was always pretty sensitive to whether someone was “interested” or not, and if not then nothing happened.

​I don’t want to attack anyone. I want everything to be mutual and feel good. I’m not into pain at all. Been there, done that, applied the ointment.

​Words, a song, even someone just looking at me in a certain way can stir emotions spontaneously. I guess this is normal. I don’t know.

I do know it's annoying and sometimes disruptive. I’m trying to desensitize myself by examining and being mindful of what's going on when that occurs. I don’t want to be so sensitive that I miss out on good moments by having something ugly pop up all the time and throw me for an emotional loop.