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.

"It Isn't Really True!"

(By Dann Youle)

When I first discovered (uncovered or whatever you want to call it) that I had been sexually abused as a boy, in my head I heard myself saying, "But it isn't really true!"

Denial was such a defense in those early days. I had been able to deny I'd been abused for 28 years, so because I thought I recalled something now, did that suddenly make it true?

This was the beginning of what I thought was my going crazy. I felt split off from myself: I didn't know who I was and the denial was the only way I could survive. I sometimes wondered if I would or could take my next breath. It was the wildest, weirdest feeling.

One day these thoughts raced through my head:

It really isn't true.

It really isn't true.

IT really isn't true.

It really isn't true.

It really isn't true.

It really isn't true!

"God, You can't expect me to believe this and you can't expect me to live if it is true!"

It was at that moment I felt God say to me, "You don't believe it can be true, I wish it weren't—but do you believe you can breathe? I give you breath, Dann; I will breathe for you."

In that moment, even though it was so hard, I realized I was more alive than ever. I felt such intense pain, but all the same it was glorious. Jesus was letting me know that I didn't have to be afraid. I might be scared to death in that moment that I was going to die, but I didn't have to fear anything, even if I did.

I have found that this phenomenon is generally true of men who have been abused. Until we can come out of that denial and get to the pain, the healing never begins.

When I was trying to convince myself that it wasn't true, there was something I needed to be in touch with even if it was painful. It is like a gentle but persistent wake-up call that God uses to point me to Him.

The it-really-isn't-true response is rare for me these days. If I have to feel the pain, there is a good reason for it. It's not that I enjoy the pain, but I find that I can find Jesus in the middle of it. He feels my pain and understands pain Himself. When I think of where my sin put Him I know that He has felt my pain in ways that I can't even begin to imagine. To know the depths of pain He has felt has allowed me to trust Him more and more in depths of my pain.

So, yes, it really is true! I was abused—horribly, terribly, but not unredemptively. The pain my past abuse causes at times seems unbearable, but the healing is sweet and real.

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