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.

Self-Promises

(This comes from Tom Scales, Executive Director of Voice Today.)

While enduring the sexual attacks, many of us made promises to ourselves. That was our way to comfort ourselves. The sad part is that the promises were made when we were too young to understand the true implications.

Our self-promises reflect the invasion of our boundaries and our inability to protect ourselves. They also echo the violation of trust that took place.

What are your promises? Here are common ones.

* I'll never trust anyone.

* I'll never love another person.

* I'll never share my feelings.

* I'll never be vulnerable to anyone.

* I'll use masks to protect my true persona and never take them off.

* I won't let anyone see me cry.

* I'll be in control in every situation.

* I'll be perfect so no one sees the damage in me.

* I'll constantly wear a smile, so no one suspects the depression I hide.

As we heal, we can learn to understand the promises we made to ourselves in the agony and rage of sexual violation. It's not healthy to carry those self-promises because they distort relationships and leave us with impoverished lives.

Intentionally abandoning our self-promises will usually be difficult, but results are worth it. We open ourselves to love, happiness, and intimacy. 

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