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.

Forgiving Myself

“But it felt good and I liked it,” Gerald Ray[1] said.

“Of course it did. Whenever you stimulate your penis, it’s pleasurable,” I said. “Someone older than you took advantage of your innocence. He did things to you that no child should ever have to experience.”

“But I should have—“

I stopped Gerald right there. “The adult part of you is speaking. You’re looking at who you are now and how you would react if it happened at age 35.” I pointed out that he was an innocent child and his perpetrator (his father) took advantage of him.

Gerald nodded in agreement, but he couldn’t seem to absolve himself as a participant. He understood the logic of his innocence, but he couldn’t get past the emotional resistance. “My dad kept saying he did it to me because I liked it and wanted it.”

“Do this, then,” I said. “Forgive yourself, even though you were an innocent child. Whenever you feel self-condemned, or think of anything you did or might have done, say three words: I forgive myself.”

I’m writing this as a serious Christian and have long believed God forgave me. However, like Gerald, and like many other survivors, it was myself I couldn’t forgive. So for a long time, I spoke the three words I urged Gerald to use.

I forgive myself.

[1] Real named used by permission.

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4 comments:

Mark said...

This is a timely post for me.

I continue to protect my dad. He's been dead for 5 years. When I talk to trusted friends about him, about the abuse, I feel I need to soften what I say.

Today I've realized that I talk about the abuse in terms of the sexual act I performed on him, rather than simply saying "he raped me". Truth is, I didn't perform a sexual act on him. He did it to me. He forced.

He. Did. It. To. Me.

Cec Murphey said...

Mark, H heard myself shouting, "Yes! Yes!"

What a breakthrough for you. Thank you for sharing this with us.


Cec

Joseph said...

Although it happened to me the summer I turned 17, when I think about the event, I see myself as a 12 or 13-year-old. I had been psychologically abused at home, made to feel worthless and unloved. I was not socially at 16-year-old. For 60 years afterward, I wondered what I did to cause it. It took upchucking all the past to a counselor to realize and accept that I didn't cause it. The predator was looking for the unloved boy, and I was it. Of course it felt good and for a little while I felt needed. And, yes, after that I learned to cruise looked for it. I call it "Looking for daddy in the men's room."

Cec Murphey said...

Joseph, your comment was one of he saddest I've read on this blog. So many of us survivors have that daddy wound. I'm sorry you took the direction you did. But then, When we hurt and have no one to help, we do make unwise choices. Thank you for your willingness to share your pain with us.