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