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.

The Big Freeze

One night I went to bed quite late, assuming my wife was asleep. I was relaxing when, in the dark, she reached over and laid her arm across my chest. I knocked her arm away, jumped out of bed, and turned on the light.

My actions had been instinctive—a carryover from childhood abuse. Not every survivor has such reactions, but it’s a common one when someone startles us. Even now if I’m involved in something and someone calls my name, I jump.

I refer to it as the big freeze, because I’m emotionally paralyzed for a few seconds. Or I numbed out when faced with a powerful emotion. It took me several years not to freeze when a man embraced me at social gatherings.

This past Sunday I was in church before the service began and wasn’t aware of someone coming behind me. George grabbed me from behind and hugged me. It startled me, of course, but I felt no visceral reaction. It just felt good and healthy.

I am overcoming my deep freeze.
I am feeling my emotions.

1 comment:

Larry Clemson said...

I have been thinking about this lately & realized through out my life I would "check out" - It would be as if I went someplace else. I didn't realize this was a side effect of abuse. I use "Check out" because that is what my wife has called it for the last 27 years. I knew I would do it - just didn't know it was something related to abuse?!?!?!