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.


(This post is from Tom Scales of VoiceToday.org. It was published on their blog in a slightly different form.)

“Dear Lord I pray that today you will make me invisible.”

Growing up in a world of childhood sexual abuse, I was preoccupied with being so invisible that I never attracted attention. It was a challenging path. I wanted to fit in with others and be part of groups and teams; I wanted to have friends. Yet I wanted to keep my inner self hidden.

I dreaded it that others would find out. I feared that my distorted sense of right and wrong would surface in embarrassing ways.

I mentally wrote scripts for conversations to avoid the risks of vulnerability that openness and honesty could bring. I analyzed and planned everything I could.

Silence and isolation become my friends. They offered safety with no judgment. Over time, they helped me to build strong and impenetrable walls. As an adult I couldn't afford the vulnerability of youth because the stakes of job and family are higher. The longer I held the secret, the more powerfully I feared exposure. As a result, I sacrificed joy, friendship, intimacy, and other life-fulfilling pleasures to fortify those walls.


Heather Marsten said...

I understand the need for invisibility. For me it meant the difference between life and death. I was threatened with death if I told what my father did. I also was so shamed and felt I was the only one (little did I know that more than one of four of my peers were similarly abused), so I tried to appear normal. I wanted friends but kids saw through my act. I was isolated and alone - finally finding safety in that. It took years before I dared let my defenses down even a bit. Thank you for sharing your story. It touches me in the depths of my being.

TomsVOICE said...

Thanks so much for your comment. I went from having no devenses (as in no boundaries what so ever) to building impervious walls that let noone and nothing in or out. Thankfully, as I have healed, I have been able to establish appropriate boundaries that allow me to enjoy friendship, trust of others and joy in my life.