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.

Numbing

In a previous post I wrote about numbing out when I felt overwhelmed by emotion. It almost happened again recently. My wife had two serious accidents in an eight-day period. Although I was aware of her pain and I could see it in her eyes, I hardly knew what to say.

In the past, I wouldn’t have understood, but this time I wasn't numbed as fully as I had been long ago, yet I was aware of a struggle going on inside me.

For me, it was an involuntary numbing. I can now look back and realize that my wise, inner self used the frozen emotions to protect me from feeling my pain.

There's another kind of numbing, and it's done so often that the people are hardly aware of what they do. We say they self-medicate. Their medication can be stuffing themselves with food. Why wouldn't they? While they were still infants, parents stopped them from crying by thrusting a bottle into their mouths. Food soothed any ills. So for some, food addiction is a natural reaction to abuse.

I know a woman who was sexually abused and after each abuse, her step-father bought her a gift. I overheard her say to a group, "I'm a shopaholic and sometimes I wonder why I buy so much."

Maybe she knows the reason. Or perhaps she knows it's her way to stifle the pain. By shopping she can self-medicate and numb her emotions.

What kind of numbing devices have you used—or still use? What is your "drug of choice" to cover your raw emotions? Why don't you write to me at Cec_Haraka (at) msn (dot) com and share it with us? (You don't have to reveal your identity.)

3 comments:

wondering04 said...

I fully understand numbing, and it is causing me challenges as I seek to write my story and have to show emotions. God is revealing them to me. I numbed out most of my life until I met a pastor that helped me deal with my father issues, and then after I got saved - only 10 years ago, the feelings started coming up. He pointed out that God permitted the numbing until I was in a safe place where I could safely heal from the hurt and pain. I pray that God helps you and others with that. I am still dealing with issues, but real healing is possible through God. Heather

Cecil Murphey said...

Heather, Thanks for your comment. Most of us face some kind of resistance when we try to dig into ourselves.

I think it's purely a natural reaction. Consider it some protective device inside ourselves that doesn't want us hurt.

If we can look at it that way, it makes it easier to work through.

wondering04 said...

Thanks, you are right, and I lean heavily on Phi. 4:13, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Have a blessed day!
Heather