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.

Permission to Heal

(This is an encore post from John Joseph.)

Do you remember having to raise your hand in school to get permission to go to the restroom or sharpen your pencil? As children, we knew the rule and lived by it the best we could. As we’ve grown we’ve forgotten about it. We take a lot of our freedoms for granted because we rarely have to ask permission from anyone.

But what if there’s a part of me that is still raising its hand, asking for permission to heal?

As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I’ve come to face a part of me that is still sitting in that small wooden desk. He’s squirming a bit and has his little hand in the air waiting for me to recognize him again.

He’s the wounded child, the neglected boy who got lost in the family system. Tears streak his face and fear is in his eyes. He wants badly to gain my permission to heal from the wounds inflicted upon him by older boys and men.

He needs my help. Will I see him? Will I notice the strain in his arm from waving his hand for so long?

Some dismiss the idea of an “inner child.” I know that I'm not separated from the little boy I was when the abuse occurred. I’m the same person.

The little boy was me. That little boy is me.

Sometimes I have to go back and sit with him to help him know I see him, that I recognize he's hurt, and give him permission to heal a little more.


Andrew J. Schmutzer said...

Whether "little boy" psychology is accepted or not, it has become a powerful narrative for me. Through my male support group and a recent book we wrote together, the problems and profile of my little boy have become a voice I clearly hear now. To the degree that I'm able to feel and sit in the pain of that little boy is the degree to which I understand what he went through...the little boy cries sometimes, still. He always did, I just didn't know how to relate to him. As I heal, I'm learning to respect his fears. He brings me closer to the ground. He's teaching a 49 year old man how to play.

jonathan ashton said...

I was raped beaten drowned by family groomed and treated as a sex slave by some perverted adult, I ended up a drink and drug addict . In childhood, I felt worthless I tried to explain to my ex wife and her family and friends and was offered no help just humiliated and ridiculed