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.

Triggers

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

What we call "triggers" remind me of my past. Something happens that throws me back to my painful abuse. It can be a voice, a smell, an event, a person, or a place that thrust me back to the sensations and world of sexual abuse. When that happened, my old companions of silence and isolation protect me once again.

The break from those devastating triggers came while listening to a TV interview of Frank Fitzpatrick, who was being interviewed about the sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of Father James Porter.

In that moment it was if someone had flipped the switch and my eyes opened. Listening to that interview brought a torrent of ugly memories. At times overwhelming, they seemed never to stop, as the actions of one predator after another paraded themselves through my consciousness.

While the journey of healing never ends, that TV interview and the many steps and events that followed brought me out of my emotional cave. They enabled me to replace the impervious walls with appropriate physical, emotional, and spiritual boundaries.

The process strengthened my faith and my self-esteem. It allowed me to have true friends and to experience joy. I was able to cast off the persistent depression that stayed with me throughout my life.

Transformation is possible for all survivors of childhood sexual abuse. For me, a TV interview was the start.

I'd like to be part of the starting experience for others.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So many survivors go out of their way to avoid "triggers." There are even websites dedicated to helping and supporting survivors of sexual abuse that will suspend or revoke your posting privileges if you post anything deemed to be a potential trigger.

That's why I've never joined any of those online support groups. How can you have an honest, frank discussion about having been sexually abaused as a child WITHOUT occasionally saying something upsetting? It is a very upsetting subject!

Even if you avoid triggers on the internet, how can you avoid them in the media? Or any where else in the world?

There is no avoiding triggers, no matter how hard a person might try. I think it's great that you've been able to use encountering them as an opportunity to connect to your past and try to understand it from an adult's point of view.

Instead of running away from "triggers,' you are facing them head-on and using them as an opportunity to grow and continue to heal.

I don't think I'm as far along as you but I've been trying to do the same thing. I just never put what I was doing into words and your post heleped clarify an important issue for me, so thank you very much.