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.

Running from the Past

My friend Gary Roe sent me a copy of his book Heartbroken: Losing a Spouse. Much of what he writes applies to healing from abuse as well as from the loss of a spouse.

One sentence stayed with me long after reading: "As we allow ourselves to feel the pain, our hearts will begin to heal."

Wonderful words, but the problem comes for many with the statement, "allow ourselves to feel the pain." That's what many won't or can't do.

"It hurts too much," is a common response.

Of course it's painful and traumatic. If it didn't hurt, the healing would have taken place long ago.

Instead of facing the situations, too many medicate themselves so they can run from their past—and it's not a conscious choice. It's our individual way of coping. Some resort to drugs, others by cutting off their emotions. My medication was busyness. For years, I was a driven man but had no awareness of it. "That's just the way I am," I often said.

Gradually, I learned to stop running (which is what my busyness was accomplishing). I wrote gradually because that's probably the best expression I know.

After I became aware, I decided to do something about coping with my drivenness. I read everything I could on how to live in the present and slow down. Taking time to read, in itself, was part of my slowing down. Yet slowing down was painful because I had time to think. And to feel. But I stayed with it and I'm making progress.

The struggle to run from my pain was useless. I couldn't outrun my childhood trauma.

But I could face it.

And I have.


Cecil "Cec" Murphey said...

Roger emailed with these comments:

When I used to think of my past it was all Beaver Cleaver simple and innocent. That was what I wanted, chose, clung desperately to believe. I had to in order to survive. That is what I thought. Pain? Oh yeah there was pain, terrible pain but I could not, indeed would not go there. I NEEDED my family to be good. I needed to believe I came from a Christian home full of love and affection even though the reality was I could not wait to leave home and when I did I never looked back. I did end up having to come home almost two years later and was married soon after so I could move out on my own. My actions totally betrayed my belief of that 'normal' existence.

Decades later I am forced to admit I lived a frightened abused existence under dad's rule. You have no idea how it hurt to lose the fantasy of a dad I could look up to, be proud of and please. I am still dealing with pain I have not allowed myself to feel. I keep telling myself I just don't have time to process it. It will go away.

The author above is right. It doesn't go away. Reopening old wounds is not fun but sometimes it is the only way to stop the infection and start the healing.

Joseph said...

I hid--tried to hide--from my abuse pain for over 50 years; however, when that pain was lanced and I looked a the abuse mess contained in the results of the lancing, I began to recover and feel like a man. The cause of the pain must be observed, talked about, cussed about if needed; but it must be faced in order for true recovery to begin.