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.

“I’m Totally Free”

In the fall of 2011, I participated in a two-day conference for male survivors of sexual assault. At a plenary session, one man spoke of his abuse and that it had once made him afraid to allow anyone to get close. He said God had healed him. “Now I’m totally free.”

As I listened, this thought raced through my brain: He’s still not going to let people get close. Then I thought I was being judgmental and silently chastised myself.

A few weeks later, Tom Scales and I had coffee together. He had also spoken during the conference. Without my bringing up the topic, Tom referred to that man. “He shouldn’t have been up there speaking,” he said. “He’s not healed enough himself.”

How did both of us—independently—come to that same conclusion? I can’t give you reasons or a concrete analysis, yet both of us sensed he spoke more about his hopes than his reality.

That’s the positive side. The negative side is that the man was still in denial. He has issues he must yet face if he truly wants to be healed and free.

I’m learning the difference between hope and reality.


Mark said...

My guess is, "totally free" does not happen in this lifetime.

Roger Mann said...

Mark, is suspect that is true. However my goal in recovery is to face the pain and wounds, walk through them with God's help and let him remove the 'teeth' from them. I will never forget but the memories and experiences will not longer cause the pain and anguish that they have in the past. That is my hope and so far I believe the more I deal with them the easier it becomes.

Mark said...

Roger, I totally agree with you.

I like your word picture - that God removes the "teeth" of memories and wounds. That well-expresses my own healing journey that continues.

Larry Clemson said...

I have had much healing & times when I feel free! Then sometimes not so much - new layers to deal with. This last year has been challenging. I have been coming to grips with things about myself that I ignored before. It has been a long road but I do know God is with me on it. I guess this is reality that it is a journey of sorts to healing. There are days I just don't want to go down that road. Why is it such a battle? Is it a lack of faith? A lack of trust? Is it just something we need to do?

Roger Mann said...

Larry I knew what you mean. It happens ever so often that I will encounter something that triggers another memory, exposes a thought or behavior I have taken for granted so long I don't even think about it anymore. Then boom I am deep in the struggle to deal with this next layer of the onion. In fact I posted something on a recent post anonymously because I was too embarrassed to put my name on it in a public blog but it really disturbed me.

Larry Clemson said...

We might not be "totally free" but we are never alone! Thank you Roger for sharing.

Andrew Schmutzer said...

It's appropriate that this April Kregel released a book that I and two other male survivors wrote, Naming Our Abuse: God's Pathways to Healing for Male Sexual Abuse Survivors. The thesis is that we cannot heal what we will not name.

Using the metaphor of a car accident, we talk about our journey in four phases: The Wreck, Accident Report, Rehabilitation, and Driving Again. We encourage men to use such writing as Reflective Therapy. This illustrates that healing is a process to be nurtured, not an event to be logged.

Healing is about care, not cure.