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.

Cecil Murphey's Story (Part 1 of 2)

In some ways I'm one of the lucky male survivors: I forgot what happened to me. As I would realize later, it became my method of survival. For years the pain of abuse lay buried deeply. Despite the repression (which is what forgetting is), I grew up living with the effects of the abuse, even though I no longer remembered my abuse until a series of emotional disruptions in 1985 brought them to the surface.

My memories didn't begin to surface through the intervention of a therapist. An area of controversy today, called the False Memory Syndrome, suggests that many who claim childhood abuse have "false" memories inadvertently planted by therapists. Even though my best friend, David Morgan, was with me from the beginning of my healing, he carefully avoided any intervention. One of my brothers and two of my sisters later corroborated many of my childhood memories.

Those abusive experiences had left their mark on my life. Like thousands of other abuse victims, I struggled because of my

• lack of trust
• fear of abandonment
• sense of loneliness and aloneness

I became a serious Christian in my early twenties. Months after my conversion, I met Shirley and we later married. We had five or six problem-free years, but a single event changed our marriage. I had been gone for nearly two weeks and when I came home, Shirley was in bed. I climbed in beside her. In the dark, she turned over and touched me. I froze.

Feelings of anger and revulsion spread through me—such a thing had never happened before in our marriage. I couldn't talk about it, and I couldn't respond to her. I pushed her arm away and mumbled something about being exhausted.

I lay awake a long time trying to figure it out. What's wrong with me? I asked myself repeatedly. No matter how much I prayed, I couldn't understand my reaction.

Over the next several years, occasionally I had similar reactions. Looking back, I realize it happened only when she initiated any affection that I hadn't anticipated. Each time I froze, I felt guilty, questioned my masculinity, and silently begged God to show me what was wrong with me. Slowly my seemingly irrational feelings decreased, and life seemed to take on a loving normalcy again.

One day I went out for a 12-mile run. I came home crying. The painful past finally broke through. I had a memory—vague, unclear, but a memory nonetheless—of the old man undressing and fondling me. I also remembered the female relative who assaulted me. Over the next few months, other childhood memories crowded into my consciousness. Those remembrances hurt, and I had never before felt such inner pain. Even though engulfed by shame, embarrassment, guilt, and a sense of utter worthlessness, I had to talk to someone. Haltingly, nervously, I told Shirley.

Once she got over the initial shock, she said exactly what I needed to hear. "I don't understand this, but I'm with you."

Of course she didn't understand. How could she? I didn't even understand myself.

I also told David and he hugged me. I don't recall anything he said, but I knew he was there with me and would be at my side as I slayed the dragons of my past.

1 comment:

RoverHaus said...

Cec,
I'm so thrilled to see this blog up. I'm a follower now!

Thanks you for sharing your life which will bring life.