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.

Love Yourself

(This is an encore post by Cecil Murphey.)

I picked up a book a few weeks ago that proposed 75 things men could do to find healing from the pain of childhood abuse. Some of the actions and activities were practical. Some. But not many.

It wasn't that any of the suggestions were wrong; they were just too simplistic. For example, the title of number 17 was "Love Yourself."

I agree that's wonderful and much needed advice. What the author didn't say in the next two pages, however, was how to make self-love happen.

How do I learn to love myself? How does anyone?

Answer: I don't know.

The only answer I know comes from my own experience. Two people loved me without any demands on my behavior. The first was Shirley, my wife, and my friend David was the second.

They loved me and accepted me, even though I felt damaged and in pain. Neither of them insisted I go through a course of self-improvement or change my ways.

They simply loved me. That was the first half of the solution.

The second half was that I felt loved by them.

Once I sensed their irrefutable love, I was able to love that small, injured boy who lived inside me.

So it's true: If you want to be healed, love yourself. But don't tell anyone unless you're first willing to express that unrestricted love.


Anonymous said...

My name is Robert, Cec has shared my thoughts in a previous posting. I agree with these comments he makes. This morning I have been pondering about how I have isolated myself over my life, not sharing my true feelings, my past abuse and how I viewed myself as less than a man. God has revealed so much to me since reading Cec and Gary's book, and I know that hiding myself and my feelings from others causes more damage than the abuse I experienced. Not allowing others to know me keeps the abuse alive. I have made great progress in the last month, opening up to my wife and a friend. Both responded with love and acceptance, which teaches me that I was very wrong in isolating myself all these years. There is great freedom in allowing others to hear your story and love you through your recovery. There is also great empowerment in facing the truth about how sexual abuse affected your life and speaking that out loud. Once I began to speak it, I began to conquer it. It is scary to say things like "I didn't feel good about myself around guys because I had experienced sex with other males (my abusers)", or "There was some physical enjoyment for me during the abuse because it brought out sexual feelings in me....but age six is too young of an age to have sexual enjoyment, that guy brought out sexual feelings that should not have been developed in me as a child!!" But once those words left my lips, I was empowered. I did not choose what happened to me, that is the truth. Saying this to another person makes me let go of guilt and as Cec states, begin to love myself and allow God to fully love me.

Joseph said...

Way to go, Robert. I'm so glad you told your wife. I wanted to suggest you do that, but decided just to pray that you'd do the right thing. One of my sorrows is that I didn't confide in my wife what I was struggling with. She loved me unconditionally and would have been supportive. I've found that facing the issue and talking it out with non-judgmental person has unlocked doors and broken down walls. Sometimes when I pray, I as God to tell my wife I still love her and that God's still working with me. Keep progressing, step by step and day by day.