Much of the sexual abuse boys encounter is not a single incident, but rather a prolonged period of multiple incidents. Whether a single incident or prolonged, the child's belief structure is shattered.
He is stamped with the idea that people are not trustworthy. They abuse, exploit, and hurt. They lie and deceive. Therefore, the boy's self-concept of being a man has been traumatically altered. His mindset and behavior in every relationship he encounters going forward is skewed.
Even in adulthood, his relationships are tainted with this violation of trust. His inner circle may consist of an army of one, himself. His life may feel unfulfilled, incomplete with the intimacy he desires.
He has experienced distorted values. He learned that violence in relationships is normal, sex is the way to achieving love, and being distant provides safety and protection. He has discovered that rape and homosexuality is normal.
The effect of these lies created pain that continued into manhood. Never trust men or women, he believes. For me, fearing and distrusting any type of intimacy placed me in isolation. Because of my feelings of rejection, I was unable to connect with people.
Other ramifications of abuse may incline the abused toward frequent, short-lived, or volatile relationships. This stage is a little better than isolation, but due to our suspicious nature, and the possibility of rejection, we invest no quality time in our relationships.
We mistrust words and the actions of others. Candid, open communication does not exist. When confronted with problems in relationships, we use silence, or hostility, and withdraw into ourselves. We blame others for our failed relationships. We often think, "I knew he couldn't be trusted!" Or, "She would hurt me."
Similar to domestic abuse survivors, we sometimes enter a relationship that recreates the abusive victim mentality for us. It feels comfortable. We are familiar with the scripted behavior pattern. We trap ourselves in a cycle.
The ramifications and results of the sexual abuse can be overwhelming, but with God's help, the desire to change, and the fortitude to work, we can find new life.
--Excerpted from Healing a Man's Heart (Holy Fire Publishing, 2009), by Thomas Edward, Pages 63-64
Thomas Edward is a speaker and the author of HEALING A MAN'S HEART. His desire is to help men of faith experience freedom from the pain of childhood sexual abuse. For more information about Thomas, his book, or his Healing Broken Men workshops, visit www.healingbrokenmen.com.