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.

Looking Backward

This post is excerpted from Cec’s new book, More Than Surviving, which will be published this week. It’s available through Amazon and many other retailers. 

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When I was living in Africa, early one morning I watched an African with his ox pulling a plow through his fields. The lines were straight, and for the twenty minutes or so I stared at him, his gaze never focused anywhere but straight ahead.

I thought of that after I read an inspirational message that urged us not to look backward. Looking backward means going backward, the person implied.

Sounds like good advice in farming, but I’m not sure it’s helpful with wounded people like us. We need to look backward. That’s where our problems began. Unless we go back to the source, we stay so busy moving forward—but our childhood injuries stay unhealed and keep pace with us.

Going back to that damaged childhood isn’t easy. And it takes courage—a lot of courage—to re-experience those wounds. But as one authority said, The only way out is through. He meant that if we want release—true healing—we have to push ourselves to revisit that pain. The big difference is that we can accept our pain and let it help us move forward as mature adults.

We can learn to say things to ourselves like this:
  • I didn’t ask for that. I didn’t want it. 
  • I was a kid with no way to defend myself. 
  • That bigger person overpowered me and stole my innocence. 
  • I felt unloved and unwanted and someone took advantage of me. 
Those statements aren’t cure-alls, but they can help us feel tenderness toward that isolated child. Here’s a statement I’ve said to myself many times when I’ve revisited my childhood: I did the best I could.

For me, that statement means that I took care of myself through innate-but-immature wisdom and survived. No self-blame or recriminations. Being a six-year-old kid with no one to help him, I remind myself that I handled myself the best I could.

Now I can walk—and run—along the healing path.

Lord, instead of condemning my childhood, 
teach me to say, “I did the best I could.”


Roger Mann said...

Learning to say "I did the best I could with what I knew back then." was really freeing for me also.

I resented my younger self for years, maybe decades because I thought he was weak and should have stood up for himself and not been so needy as to accept the wrong kinds of attention. That was foolish as I see now. He was just a kid. At the mercy of adults and needing to feel loved and protected by them.

I'm astonished at times and the many ways abuse affects us as adults.

Mark Cooper said...

I appreciate the message of this post. It goes against what many of us have been taught, "Just forgive and forget." Or, "Let it go, it's over."

I'm realizing that looking back and going back free me from living in the past. If I don't look back and go back, then I am imprisoned to constantly relive the past, in my present.

That is a paradox. That is healing.

Jesus said...

I felt a little less alone when this silence we can only share with You and The many Survivors...It was lonely when The event happens, isolated and desperate and when we needed a parent they was not there, My Mother was mentally ill and My brother -elder but we.both were not 5. A man touched us in a way was our first hugg and in our innocence thought this is nice. I go back to a child but just for a while to Help me go forward as a Christian cos' only He -a man whose suffering/pain can i draw comfort from - that only He understands and understandsble when i react a childhood scar/trauma that is complex for any min-victim to ever offer You understanding. The least we want is empathy and even our loved ones cannot reach out as others like You all here on Cecils God given support for Us - no longer victims but Survivors. So i look back but stay only a while but if i do go then i do as others here have shown me/helped me - to say well i Did The best i could and whatever st that moment try show comfort for that need, even though i may act out, whatever etc; " I am not alone as that child was then", that alone has bern my life but lets celebrate in The knowledge that on that day, our Journey is over here we can say to life we Journey - "I did my best"...I continue look at The Cross and need only one bullet to kill The enemy when it attacks are innocents- The we were but now In Christ...Bless and keep praising Him for what He did and continues to give Us another day of victory....I pray and Bless You all who share our stories. PS: An Organisation in USA, were only 4 people, one in a Wheel-chair who met in a library on 47 St, Newyork after WW2 and called themselves WANA - we are not alone. From this vision they Formex The Clubhouse vision - see iccd.org and today they are like The Salvstion Arny as they Help persons with mental/psychological trauma etc They are in every Nation, look that URL but must be 1000s of members and 1000 Clubhouses around our Creation world. Then in late 40s many large Old Hospitals for victims were closed in USA and many left isolated, some on The street...It was forbidden for Wheel-Chairs on buses and one of that group WANA died and just after, a Law was passed allowing wheelchairs on buses... Can't Wait to meet that person and share all of eternity with them..Forgotten causes are Everyday ad 1000s are trafiked with children .. I pray for them Everyday and for You My brother and sisterd. Bless Anthony on mission Lapland, Sweden- ex North Yorkshire, England - 2 boys 22 and 16. In pension but going strong - WWW.thefillingstation.org.uk is our main URL and search me there in Sweden....������������