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.

“You’re Not Alone” (Part 1 of 2)

I read those words often: “You’re not alone.” Sometimes I find them comforting because it implies that the speaker/writer is reaching out for us. And knowing that we’re not alone can be immensely helpful on our journey.

And yet we are alone—a reality we have to face.

We must do the inner work ourselves; we have to feel the pain, the doubts, and the self-accusations. No one in the world knows exactly what we go through.

We are alone because the battle is within—a place others can’t go.

Think of it this way. We were victimized in isolation. Our perpetrators sought us out, groomed us, separated us from others, and then molested us. Healing means going back into the place of segregation from others. Our problems started there; our victories arise from there.

This isn’t to rule out the help of others—and we do need others. But the battle is ours alone.

We are alone because the battle is within.


Mark Cooper said...

This post disturbs me. Not because I disagree, but because I DO agree and have frequently hurt when people have said "You are not alone."

Late evening is often a lonely and hurting time that I feel that struggle of abuse. Sometimes I need to check in with a good friend. Frequently he will say, "Remember, you are not alone." In a sense he is right; I am being cared about by he and others.

But in a physical sense I am facing a night physically alone. No one to sit close to on the couch. No one to hold hands with, or put my arm around or be held by. No one who is connected deeply enough with my heart that they can quietly sit with me.No one who can fully understand the uniqueness of my pain, just as I can't understand theirs.

On the other hand, a number of years ago when I was starting to unpack the reality of having been raped by my dad, a close friend told me, "Unfortunately this has hurt you to the very core of who you are. God will go with you. And so will I." Six years later this friend is still keeping his promise. He can't understand everything I feel, he can't be with me in all the moments of hurt and pain and struggle. He can't be with me to share all the victories. But he is alongside of me, he hasn't walked away even though my healing journey has been messy and at time emotionally draining for him.

I think I like that work, "alongside." .

Anonymous said...

I have two, somewhat related comments.

I have learned that the Holy Spirit will and can fill much of our brokeness and "aloneness". However, it is helpful to also have someone with skin on there as well.

Where I have recently found my "aloneness" is where my spouse was also a vicitm of sexual abuse. She does not want to heal right now. At this point in our lives, that means our existing in a sexless marriage and me feeling like the villain if I bring it up or try to help in any way. So, while I'm not alone, I actually am. I'm praying and trusting the Lord for healing for us both as I try to simply get through the day.

Thanks Cec.

Roger Mann said...

I have felt alone all my life. During my childhood my dad kept me fairly isolated unless it was someone of "like mindedness" if you take my meaning. Then I was shared but even then, it was physical and I knew I would still be alone. As I grew up and left home I found that because of the history I had, I could not relate to others well. I could be social but still feel very much alone. I wrote a poem once called "I feel different" in which I shared some of that feeling.

One of the reasons my first marriage broke up and probably the second also is I could not feel comfortable really opening up to my spouse. I was ashamed and so kept a huge part of me hidden. I opened up more with my current bride before and after we were married because she too had experience some abuse as a child. Hers was a little different than mind, perhaps quite a bit different, and it really helped very little. I finally withdrew again because I felt I couldn't trust her with my feelings.

Probably the greatest moment of my recovery was when I discovered online that there were so many others like me who understood. It was intoxicating but it was online and I was only able to meet one or two in person for brief meetings. It really helped to know I was not alone in my experience but also hurt to realize how many others were hurting like I was.

Today I stay in touch online and offer advice and support. It helps me as much as them I suspect but how I have wished to many times just to be with someone who understands and would accept me in all my vulnerability and honesty and not be afraid of scaring them off.

Anonymous said...

I am married but I have found that when my wife takes a weekend trip without me every once in a while with her sister, the loneliness floods in like a tidal wave. Depression immediately sets in, suicidal thoughts come rushing. It's like someone pulled a dark shade down. The only way that I have found to escape it is to get outside asap.