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.

Confidence to Speak

I handled my abuse with amnesia (a form of denial) and was fifty-one- years old before the first memories trickled back to my consciousness. As the painful memories emerged, my wife held my hand and my friend David gave me his shoulder. They encouraged me and infused me with confidence to speak about my molestation.

Every time I spoke about my abuse to anyone else, it emboldened me to speak more freely. But I didn't tell my family of origin or my own children. I made dozens of excuses for myself, such as:

* It no longer matters.

* They don't care.

* What difference does it make?

* I talk about it to others; why should I have to bring in my siblings or my kids?

* It will only stir up anger and hurt.

* They probably won't believe me.

I lived and grew up in a dysfunctional family. We didn't talk about secret things. When I was growing up, my family didn't even use words like pregnant. My mother would say, "She's that way." Her emphasis on those two words made it clear to me what she meant. It also reminds me of the way life was in those days.

A thought came to me one day. Perhaps speaking to my siblings would bring healing for all of us. Perhaps all of us could face our painful childhood—even though our issues were not the same.

Most of all, I admitted to myself that if I opened up, it would help me. By the time I was able to face my abuse, my parents were dead, and both my abusers were dead.

I opened up and truly shattered the silence. To my surprise, my three surviving siblings understand what I went through.

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SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT

Hidden Tragedy: Male Victims of Domestic Abuse and the Women Who Abuse Them

I am writing a book about domestic violence that focuses on men who are physically, verbally, and mentally abused, and the women who abuse them.

I'm currently seeking stories from men or women who are or were involved in this type of situation. If you're willing to share your story through your own words or through an interview, or know someone who is, please email me: tracyruckman@yahoo.com. I will protect your privacy.

6 comments:

Heather Marsten said...

All my life I wanted to ask my mom why she permitted my abuse. The conversation never came up and she died before I could resolve the issue. I regretted not asking her.

I have spoken with my sister and brother about our abuse. We talk, but the effects of our conversation is so different. I have forgiven my parents and want my family healed. My sister and brother still hold on to the pain and anger, even though their abuse happened fifty years ago. It saddens me that they are so bound. Still much has come out and I've learned a bit about my parents' pasts that lend some light to my situation.

Heather

Anonymous said...

HM,

I can't speak for your siblings, but I will never be able to forgive someone who hurt me as badly as I have been hurt and never apologized or tried to make amends.

Thankfully, my abuser was not a relative.

I don't believe it is necessay to forgive my abuser. What I have to do is forgive myself:

-for being small and weak

-for trying to be "nice" to my abuser, thinking that could make it stop

-for being too scared to tell anyone

I am doing my best to heal and to move on, but I don't feel the slightest inclination to forgive the monster who nearly ruined my life.

I've had well-meaning people tell me that I should do it in order to move on and that it's the "right" thing to do, but it doesn't feel right to me at all.

I went against my instincts as a child and tried to be "good." It brought me nothing but torture, sorrow and pain.

Whether or not you forgive your abuser is a very personal matter. Please don't pressure people who don't feel the same way you do.

Cecil "Cec" Murphey said...

The post by Anonymous troubles me for two reasons.

First, he has no need to forgive himself for being weak. He was an innocent, immature child. He couldn’t reason like an adult. Someone bigger and stronger took advantage and hurt him.

He wasn’t being weak; he was being a child.

Second, I hope Anonymous and every survivor will forgive their abusers. Until a man forgives, the perpetrator will always be part of his life, he’ll be unable to forget, and frequently remember his pain. As a friend once asked, “Who wants to carry an enemy on his back every day?”

I don’t believe in pushing anyone to forgive.

For some of us, forgiveness was a fairly simple step. For many, however, it’s a painful, major decision in our healing. Either way, it’s essential for our healing.

For those who want healing, the question isn’t, “Should I forgive?” The question is, “When am I ready let go of my pain?”

Anonymous said...

CM,

I'm sorry you feel that way.

As you can probably gather from my last post, I do not agree.

I will find my own way to heal. With or without anyone else's understanding or approval.

There will be no help for me here. Telling someone else what he or she must do without knowing his or her specific story or circumstances is never, ever helpful.

You should know that. You all should.

I'm sorry I "troubled" you.

Anonymous said...

And one last thing:

Claiming you don't pressure people to forgive their abusers only to warn them that they will carry their abusers on their backs every day of their lives if they DON"T forgive them is ever so slightly hypocritical.

You don't think that's pressure?

That kind of double-talk might fly with your sycophants, but I see it for what it is.

Good luck with your next book.

-K.F.

Tracy Ruckman said...

Someone once told me that we may not be able to give forgiveness on our own the first time we try it, but if we ask God to help us forgive, He will make it possible.

After I grasped that, I discovered how freeing forgiveness really is. By forgiving the person who hurt me (in my heart - I had no contact) they no longer had ANY control over my life. None whatsoever. I was able to move forward with my life.

A few years later, someone else hurt me, and I shared how I had already forgiven. A pastor asked how I could forgive so easily. The first thing out of my mouth was, "Jesus DIED so that I could be forgiven - how can I not forgive someone else?"

Freedom is peaceful.