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.

Hiding the Pain (Part 2 of 2)

Why do we hide the story of our abuse and the pain? You and I can probably think of many reasons. But the reasons aren't as important as the causes such as shame, fear of not being believed, or not trusting ourselves.

The more we can expose the darkness of our souls to the light, the more readily we heal. Many times I've heard, "You're only as healed as your worst secret." From that, I've inferred that those issues when deeply held and unrevealable thwart our pain. And we expend energy to keep them undisclosed.

Or we isolate ourselves from others. Four months ago, I was in close contact with *Joey, and we were quite open with each other. Then Joey stopped answering emails, texts, or phone calls. About three weeks ago, Joey emailed and asked if we could have lunch. (Men don't seem to know how to talk unless it's around a meal, coffee, or liquor.)

We met and Joey apologized. "I was going through a really bad time."

"You were hiding." Those words blurted out before I realized what I had said. But I also knew they were true.

At first he rationalized by giving me a variety of explanations. I listened and said nothing. Finally, he said, "No . . . you're right. I was hiding because I was ashamed."

"I understand," I said. I've been there.

And so have many of you.

We don't blab to just anyone, but we need to find those who will listen, care, and enable us to stop hiding. And until we find safe people, we'll still keep hiding.

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