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.

Accepting the Past, Enjoying the Present

(By Gary Roe)

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it….
This is part of The Serenity Prayer penned by Reinhold Niebuhr. I have real difficulty living in and enjoying the moment. I worry about what’s next. I get stuck on what happened yesterday.

In order to survive the repeated abuse, I had to go somewhere else in my mind. This strategy worked then, but it doesn’t serve me well now. It’s time to move on and begin to embrace the present. As I do, I accept hardship more readily and experience more of God’s peace.

Serenity comes when I begin to take the world as it is. The past is what it was. Words, behavior, and relationships are what they are now. I could wish things were different, but that doesn't change the facts. I need to see the world as it is and engage with it. This will happen as I heal, and I can begin to really enjoy each moment.

Won’t that be wonderful?

As I accept the past
I can heal and begin to enjoy the present.



(This post is adapted from Not Quite Healed, by Cecil Murphey and Gary Roe.)

Flashback: A Step Forward

(This is from Mark Cooper’s blog and used by permission.)

It lasted for only a second. Previous flashbacks had involved one or maybe two of my senses. But this time I not only saw him, I also experienced his presence through my sense of touch, smell, and taste. The touch, smell, and taste were not defined, but I knew they were present. It was the first time I’d had a multi-sensory flashback.

Pondering this particular flashback, I’ve realized that I was there. When I was abused, I was not watching from a safe distance. I was there and my mind was recording what my senses were experiencing.

I suppose in some ways I’ve looked at my abuse as one dimensional. I’ve acknowledged it happened, but have not allowed myself to fully grasp its reality on a sensory level. This is what the flashback is starting to restore.

Perhaps this flat, one dimensional view accounts for my inability to fully grieve the past and embrace today. If I have been guarding myself from accepting that I was really there, feeling, smelling, tasting, hearing, seeing; am I also inadvertently blocking myself from experiencing life today? Is this why I feel sensory overload at times?

I’m a bit nervous about future flashbacks. I also know that God uses flashbacks to help me open up more of my wounded places. He wants to heal those places, and he can’t while I’m denying their presence.

And I also take comfort that he will not require me to remember more than I need, in order to continue my healing.




"Why Tell Anybody?"

I don't know how he got my telephone number, and he never told me his name. As soon as I identified myself, he blurted: "Why should a man tell anyone about his abuse?"

"He doesn't need to tell anyone. He can keep it a secret until he dies," I said.

"But talking is just talking—just mere words."

Certain he referred to himself, I asked, "Have you ever told anyone?"

After a long silence, he mumbled, "No."

"Suppose I had a tumor inside my body," I said. "I could live with that a long time as it slowly grew. But I'd be aware and have some discomfort or even a lot of pain. And suppose the tumor wasn't operable. Then what?"

He didn't respond, so I said, “You might use medication to shrink that tumor. It would likely take place over a period of time, but you could do it."

"So you think that's what talking does?"

"It worked for me," I said, "and for many men who've talked with me."

Before we hung up, I gave him one of my original maxims: I know of myself only what I say of myself.

By that I meant we have to speak the words of our pain to someone else for the healing to begin. "Survivors need other people," I told him. "If you don't want to start with a spouse or a good male friend, go to a professional.

"Once you can start talking about it, you become an instrument of your own healing. You enlist others. Each time you're able to talk about it—"

"The more effective, right?"

I tried to explain that we've been created to connect with other humans. And with a basic need to be understood by others. I'm convinced that as I enable others to understand me, I also learn to understand myself.

(This entry was originally posted at Joyful Heart Foundation.)

Did It Really Happen?

I "forgot" (that's denial) about my abuse until I was 51 years old. For several months after the memories began seeping back into my consciousness, I kept trying to convince myself that the abuse hadn't happened.

I hadn't gone to a counselor or therapist, but that happened around the time we heard so much about the false-memory syndrome. Therapists had inadvertently planted false memories in some of their clients.

I wanted mine to be false memories.

But they weren't.

I was molested. 
Because I can accept that fact, I can overcome the pain.

(This post was adapted from Not Quite Healed, written by Cecil Murphey and Gary Roe.)

What If I Became an Abuser?

Although he said the words in 2008, I can still see his sad face. "I've been afraid to hug another man. I was afraid that because I've been molested, I might become a perpetrator." Tears slid down his cheeks as he said, "I don't ever want to hurt anyone the way I was hurt."

Although his response was more extreme than what most of us would say, for many of us, a secret, unspoken fear lurks in our hearts. We read that most perpetrators were themselves survivors of molestation.

What if I become one of them?

My response is that the fear may be a positive factor. It can mean the person is truly vulnerable and could abuse a boy. But more likely, it means that such a fear robs us of the joy of life. If we're constantly afraid of what we might do or could become, we can't fully experience life.

Are you afraid because you feel a strong attraction to children? If so, please seek professional help.

Or are you simply afraid that you might become a perpetrator? One of the lies many men struggle with is that they fear they'll do what was done to them.

I refuse to believe the lie that I'll become a perpetrator
just because I was victimized.

(This post was adapted from Not Quite Healed, written by Cecil Murphey and Gary Roe.)

"I Felt as if God Himself Had Molested Me"

"I felt as if God himself had molested me." Objectively and intellectually, he knew the reality, but he said that from an emotional perspective. His pastor was like God to him. "He represented everything I believed and cherished," he said.

He sounded like other church throwaways. I call them throwaways because they have no respect for the church, for ecclesiastical hierarchy, and can't comprehend a loving and compassionate God.

I wouldn't argue with such people. I would hope they could reach the emotional level of forgiving "God" for hurting them and enabling them to turn to the true lover of their souls.

God didn't molest me.
Someone who was supposed to represent God molested me.

(This post was adapted from Not Quite Healed, written by Cecil Murphey and Gary Roe.)

Healing Is a Process

At a seminar in El Paso, I said, "Healing is not an event; healing is a process."

One man said, "I needed to hear those words." At age 43, memories of abuse by a church deacon began to surface. He had gone to a therapist for nearly three months. The question he had planned to ask me before the seminar was, "Why am I still not healed?"

Without knowing his question, I gave him the answer when I spoke to the entire group—something most survivors could have done. We'd like to believe that we have a moment—a special insight—and we're free forever.

I wish it worked like that.

We need the experience of enlightenment, awareness, or what we refer to as the aha moment. That's where we begin. Once we face the reality of our abuse, we start down a path of healing. Notice I used the word start.

None of us knows where the journey ends.