Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Telling His Story in a Safe Place

One thing I think is absolutely true: When the abused are in a place of safety--most of us use the term "safe place"--we can face our pain and forgive ourselves. A safe place is where an individual or a group listens to what we need to say about ourselves. They believe us--because they understand our pain.

I'm convinced that telling his story is one of the major steps in an adult survivor's recovery. But the listener has to be someone who is supportive, who encourages him to press on past the pain, who loves him, and who has already established a trusting relationship with him. Simply telling his story may sound easy, but for many men that's difficult. When he learns he can trust another person, he's ready to reveal his experiences and to begin his healing journey.

He needs someone to listen without directing him. He needs to speak without being interrupted, questioned skeptically, or battling arguments. As he feels stronger, he needs to widen his circle of trust and intimacy. It's a good idea for him to pray about talking to others he can trust. There are self-help groups in most cities, usually built on the Alcoholics Anonymous principle. I'm always quick to recommend Christians in Recovery and Celebrate Recovery groups. There are also a number of on-line groups to which he can safely and anonymously respond.

Whenever he speaks to anyone about his abuse and the information is held in confidence, it's easier for him to open up even more. Each time he feels safe with another person, he is steps farther down the healing path.

--excerpted from When a Man You Love Was Abused by Cecil Murphey, Kregel Publications, 2010, pages 144-145

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