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 Way to Heal

After I went public with my abusive childhood, many people reached out to me; I appreciated their concern and compassion. A few of them, however, weren’t helpful. I call them the right-way-to-heal people. They knew all the rules and emotions associated with grief and (even more important) knew exactly how I felt and what I needed to do for myself. (They told me so.)

Most of their advice came from their own experiences. Not only did I understand the agony they’d endured, I appreciated their willingness to share their pain and healing with me.

What they didn’t grasp was that I wasn’t like them—and no one else is either. We were both abused as children, but obviously no two people suffer in the same way. As obvious as that may be, too many of them had become the right-way-to-heal people.

“Talk about it. Tell anyone who’ll listen. The more you speak about it, the easier it gets.”

“Be extremely selective about whom you tell.”

“You need a therapist. They’re the only ones who can help you.”

“Don’t go to a professional. Find a friend or a small group—individuals who have recovered from abuse. They’re the only ones who can help.”

Yet they all knew.

I didn’t need a lot of advice; I did need a lot of compassion.

No one can tell us how to heal;
it’s something each of us must figure out.

2 comments:

Mark Cooper said...

It's so easy for me to fall in to the trap of thinking I have the answers for someone else, because of the ways I've dealt with my healing.

May I remember to give compassion freely, and advice only when it is sought.

Roger Mann said...

I too have learned that everyone's story is different. Everyone's healing is going to take a unique path because we are all different in how we experienced, how it affected us, how we responded and how we were raised during it all.

I may not relate to everyone but I can give them the compassion, support and encouragement to find their own path that is healthy for them.