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.

Pursuing Safe People (by Gary Roe)

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

Even though I had wonderful, safe people in my life, I went off to college and distanced myself from them. Contact grew less frequent. I thought I wasn’t worthy of such wonderful people. They couldn’t possibly want to stay in contact with me. I slowly isolated myself.

That became my pattern. I did the self-distancing with almost every safe person in my life. At first, I was thrilled to be with them, but then, the old form of behavior reasserted itself. I didn't know how to cope with safe relationships. I began backing off.

Now I understand.

If I want to feel safe, I need to stop obeying the old patterns. I must take action. I have to find and initiate relationships with safe people. Initiate and keep initiating: That's my goal.

And guilt enters into this as well. I ask myself, "If I feel so safe just hearing their voices, why wouldn't I not call, sometimes daily?"

And yet, I tell myself that I don’t want to bother them. That's a lie. Life is busy and I forget to reach out to them. That's another lie.

How long will I keep doing that to myself?

The abuse programmed me to self-isolate. I had no control over what happened to me back then; now I can choose a different path. I can reach out to the safe people God has placed in my life. I can choose to believe what they say about me and to me rather than accept messages my abusers gave me.

I promise myself: I'll resist the temptation to withdraw. I’ll reach out.

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