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.

Rewriting Life

The speaker referred to "strategies for protection from painful memories." He said many of us, unable to face the reality of horrible childhoods, unconsciously rewrote our family history and called that period of life by many terms, such as happy, conventional, nearly perfect.

Yes, I thought, I was one of them. In seminary, we had to take courses in pastoral counseling. In a personal interview, the lead professor asked me about my childhood.

"My mother was warm and accepting; my dad was quiet. I had a conventional, happy childhood." I said more than that—and thought I was telling the truth.

Years later, I was showering and realized I had not seen my family the way they truly were. "My mother was hard-hearted and unloving!" I yelled at my wife. "My dad was mean and brutal!"

Shirley hugged me and said, "Several times I heard you talk to others about your warm, loving family. I thought your mother was one of the coldest individuals I've ever met."

That opened me up. I had deceived myself (or I could call it lived in denial) and used words like conventional or happy to express my childhood. From that day onward, I began to accept my real family history. A year later, I could admit that I had been physically, verbally, and sexual assaulted as a child and that neither of my parents expressed affection.

God, help me not to rewrite my childhood history.
Instead, help me to accept the real one.

* * * * *

This post is excerpted from Cec's book More Than Surviving: Courageous Meditations for Men Hurting from Childhood Abuse (Kregel, 2018).

Abuse and Intimacy

(This post comes from Roger Mann.)

For those of us who have been abused and exposed to some of the sordid sex practices, it’s difficult to be intimate with the woman we love. In our heads, sex has become something shameful and full of guilt. Sometimes the idea of intimate contact can bring up shameful memories and really ruin the moment.

Many times, I have spent the day at work thinking about coming home to the lady of my life and being passionate and affectionate. Then I’m driving home and, as I’m thinking about initiating intimacy, memories begin to creep back into my head. By the time I pull into the driveway, I’m a mess again. The spirit is willing, as they say, but the flesh is weak and difficult to respond.

In my teenage years and beyond, I became obsessed with sex. Discovering porn inflamed it even worse, until I realized one day that my wife and I had not been intimate in a long time. That’s when I began to look for help. I found help, but damage was done to the relationship and that marriage ended.

I swore I wouldn’t marry again, but eventually I did. I thought I was okay by then. However, during the first week of our honeymoon, I began to pull away and became irritable and angry and didn’t understand why.

Later, during a conversation, I looked at her and realized I really cared for her a lot. She was attracted physically to me and I was shutting her down. She became confused and hurt.

We’re doing better now, but there are still times when the memories intrude, and I have to push through them to stay with her in the moment. I do that by consciously focusing on just my immediate sensations.

My therapist suggested that I needed to re-sexualize myself. I think he's right, but it's difficult to do and talk about with my wife whom I love and respect. We get there, but we both have to be in the right mood at the right time. I suspect the only way to overcome this is talking it out together.