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.

Feeling Responsible (by Gary Roe)

I invited Gary Roe to write several posts. He also shares his story in my book When a Man You Love Was Abused.

One of the results of the sexual abuse in my life is that I often feel responsible for almost everything.

After all, my perpetrators told me I was responsible for what happened back there. And then I heaped further responsibility on myself: “If I had only. . . ,” “If I hadn’t. . .,” “If I only could. . .then maybe, just maybe. . .”

So I grew up believing that I was responsible for the feelings and behavior of others. If something went wrong, I blamed myself. If someone was angry, I had messed up. I became a man who desperately tried to control what happened, including the people around me. I was trying to protect myself, making sure what happened back there didn't happen again.

I tried to control with niceness and great performance. It was a miserable life. I didn't know I was carrying the weight of the abuse around with me.

With the help of people like Cec, I'm learning to separate myself from the abuse. I'm learning to appropriately detach from the emotions of those around me. I've finally set good boundaries.

For me, this has been a long, sometimes painful process. But it’s worth it.


Heather Marsten said...

Thank you so much for your testimony, yes it is tough to remove abuse effects.

Today in a Bible study our pastor used as an example taking an old car, painting it red, and he asked us if we would still drive the car slow once it was painted red. The answer was no, we would drive it faster as a red car.

I then asked, "Well, even though the car is painted red, we'd still know that it was an old brown, rusted car underneath.

My pastor replied, "Think, why did you say that?"

He ended up saying that there are still parts of me that think I am still broken goods from the past and there comes a time when we have to move forward, not waiting for the holes in the past to be filled the way we think they need to be filled. My pastor is an awesome, loving man who has worked hard with me to help me heal. Funny, though, how there are layers and layers of healing that is needed.

I thought I was healed, but this showed me that there is still work to do. There are still parts of me that feel like damaged goods.

Gary, thanks for your brave post I appreciate what you share.

Gary said...

Thank you, Heather. Your comments are always very insightful. I appreciate your encouragement. You are right about the layers. Good thing I like onions!