Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Speaking Out

(This post comes from Roger Mann.)

When I was 21, I suffered from some stomach ills and depression. My employer had employee assistance programs that would pay for counseling. I decided to take advantage of it and made an appointment with a psychologist. Everything was going smoothly, and then out of the blue she asked me about my father and our relationship. In seconds, I turned white in the face, became dizzy, and had to put my head down and do some deep breathing. We ended right there and I never went back.

I carried the secret of our relationship for decades. But into my late 40s, things had gotten worse for me and I realized I should see someone and talk about it. It was slow going until one day I just blurted out about what he did and how I felt it had affected me. It was painful. I must have cried for ten minutes before getting control. I felt like a fool.

Later, I felt better— better than I had in years. I went back and began the long tedious and painful process of unpacking it. Since then I have been selectively open about my abuse with certain people and situations. I feel it benefits others. I’ve sought to analyze why I feel the need still to talk about it. It hurts my wife to hear about this stuff, and I seldom bring it up with her.

But when I found a website exclusively for men who have been abused and are dealing with the effects, I was thrilled to have a place to actually talk about it freely with people who understood. I opened up about things that I hadn’t told anyone before. Getting validation for those feelings and thoughts was absolutely huge.

When I think about just shutting up and dropping any reference to it, I remember back when someone told me these words:
It was not your fault.
You are not alone.
I understand, and I hear what you’re saying. 
It's great to be heard and not just listened to. Here I am on this blog, spilling my guts, getting validation, and hopefully giving some too. To know you are not alone and can share the pain with someone who really gets it is beyond price.

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