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.

Guilt

"I feel so guilty," George said.

When I asked him for specifics, he could only mumble, "I don't know . . . it's just this nagging feeling." Finally he said, "If only I had . . ." and he mentioned several things he wished he'd done.

"That kind of thinking is more common than you know." I stared right at him as I added, "You were a kid; you didn't understand and couldn't reason the way you do today. You've had more than thirty years to live with that pain. Don't punish that little boy for being vulnerable."

Apparently shocked by my response, tears filled his eyes. "I—I never thought of it that way. I've been tough on myself because I didn't tell or fight him off—"

"And he's still abusing you today, isn't he? As long as you focus on what you didn't do, he'll keep hurting you."

He nodded.

"George, each time you feel guilty, say these words aloud to yourself: 'I am not guilty. I was a child.'"

6 comments:

Roger Mann said...

It took me a long time to accept that truth. It was not until someone pointed out to me also that I am looking at the past through the eyes of an adult. I had to turn a mental corner and see my life as a boy through his eyes. I had to see that he did not have the advantage of my life experience to gauge what was happening to him. He responded to his father the only way he felt he could and still honor his father. He did what he felt at the time was all he could do.

He helped me survive, and I am here now because he made the only choices his little mind felt he could make. He is my hero and I have grown to love and admire his courage and creativity in a terrible situation.

Thanks Cec.

Dan said...

A couple years ago that was me. I had not gone to a counselor yet, but God was working on me. One night in my pain it hit me. It was as if God was telling me, "it wasn't your fault". And, "you were so young, and vulnerable. He had no right to do that to you". I wept, yelling into my pillow at the one who did that to me, as the healing started. I'm now 2/3s of the way through NOT QUITE HEALED. I plan to be a regular on here, at least to read the posts.
Thanks Cec

Andrew Schmutzer said...

"Don't punish the vulnerable little boy"...well said. It's taken me years to humanize the little boy, to let him feel, cry, be angry, and play. I appreciate this discussion of guilt. For me, the sense of BETRAYAL and being overpowered from of my abuser is so strong, that personal guilt really doesn't enter into the picture. I was used, plain and simple!

Regardless, learning to talk to that little boy has been a life-long quest. Right now, he's excited to go on vacation, maybe the 50 year-old will follow.

Thanks Cec

Cec Murphey said...

Andrew, thank you for your poignant response. Your words are so encouraging.
And help that little boy enjoy his vacation. And be nice to adult Andrew too.


Cec

Roger Mann said...

One of the things that helped me grasp this idea of appreciating that boy was given to me as a gift from a fellow survivor. It was unfortunate he gave it to me in a nice restaurant during appetizers. It was a shirt and pants off the rack for a small boy, probably 3 or 4 years old. He said you need to remember how small and vulnerable you were, it was not your fault.

I could not control my tears. The waiter gave us some extra time thankfully, before taking our order but I never forgot that. I still have that little shirt and pants and every time I start to feel angry, I take them out and hold them again. I would highly recommend it to anyone having difficulty accepting that truth.

Not long after, I also bought myself a teddy bear, which was another of his recommendations. Both have helped me to turn that mental corner when I really needed to.

Cec Murphey said...

Roger, that post hit me. What a powerful, visual aid. Thank you for telling us.
Cec