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.

Another Layer

Recently, a reader of this blog wrote that every time he felt he was healed, he pulled back another layer. There seemed always to be more. And he was right.

All through my school years, I'd heard people talk about peeling an onion. I never liked that illustration because I thought, when you finish peeling, there's nothing left.

In the book Gary Roe and I wrote, Not Quite Healed, I used the symbol of the artichoke to explain the ongoing awareness. We pull off the tiny leaves and when they're all gone, the heart is what's left.

To me, there seems always to be another leaf to pluck, but as we continue, we begin to see the heart of the artichoke. In our struggles, most of us accept that we won't be perfect. But we can be—and will be—healthy.

Here's a thought that's helped me. Yes, there seems always to be another leaf. But those leafs aren't indiscriminate or random. We see a new leaf when we're ready to face it.

Instead of discouraging you, I hope it encourages you to say, "I'm progressing. Each time I discover a new leaf, it means I'm moving forward."

Isn't that good news?


Joseph said...

I have found--am finding--that looking at each layer and trying to understand where it starter, why it continued, what it caused, etc., is essential in the healing process. Yes, I sobbed and wailed and groaned in the process. But as painful as it was, it was necessary for me to look the past eye-ball-to-eyeball and process it to be able to move forward.

Mark Cooper said...

When I read the book, the artichoke illustration was really helpful. Gave me permission to "chew" as new information surfaced and as I made new connections about the affects of my abuse.
Peeling an onion sort of had the connotation of dealing with each new layer and then being done with it. Which doesn't work - at least for me! :-)

Jospeh said...

You're right, Mark. It's hard to "be done" with it. Maybe the onion "odor" can represent lingering memories that still must be dealt with. Sometimes weeks go by, and then I'm discussing the same memory or issue with my counselor. Recovery is not quick, but we can recover.

Roger Mann said...

I am still dealing with a leaf now and again. The are not as big and troublesome as the first ones but still painful. I can see my heart though and I am enjoying 'feeling' once again. I am so tired of being numb and isolated.

Cec Murphey said...

Wonderful comments, men. I especially liked Roger's comment about once again being able to feel. That's the result. It hurts to get there, but it's worth the pain.

Joseph said...

Absolutely worth the pain, Cec.