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.

Living in My Own Head (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.

Sometimes I'm amazed at how self-conscious I can be. Due to the abuse, I developed long antennae, and I'm constantly gauging what people might think or how they might feel about me. I talk and behave in a way that I think will insure that they like me.

As a result, I've lived a lot of my life inside my own head—thinking, posturing, wondering, planning, and controlling situations. Unknowingly, I fashioned a nice, acceptable, and thick mask for myself. Others got to know the mask and seemed pleased with it (just as I had planned).

Not only did I not know how to be me (I didn't know who I really was), I successfully walled myself off from love. If I couldn't take off the mask and be myself, then I also couldn't really engage with others and love them.

My mask was well liked. My mask received the love, and I went on feeling unloved.

Slowly God began to dissolve the glue that held that mask in place. He used my wife, life situations, counseling, and a few trusted friends over a number of years to help me discover who I am. I now like the mask less and less.

I can live more outside my own head now, being more present to the people around me. God is healing me. I know this. I feel it and I see it. He is maturing me into who He has made me to be.

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