Saturday, September 28, 2019

Part 3 of Joe's story,

Shortly after 9/11, I was diagnosed with P.O.T.S. because I’d black out frequently after standing up. I was put on meds but I’m always on guard of a blackout since my heart rate would go to zero during those episodes. I was hospitalized twice. Slowly, I became a recluse in my own home and spoke to no one unless I had to.

Over time, the flashbacks weren't as often, maybe once a day and eventually I was able to have intimate moments once again with my wife after nearly a 10yr hiatus. I don't know why she stayed with me but I’m grateful.

About a year ago, I was in the doctor office with my wife going over my blood work since I have severe hypertension. The doctor said he wanted to do a full physical and I literally freaked out like a raving lunatic. I told him if he comes near me that I’d hurt him and I meant it. I couldn't relive that again. I jump off the table ready to take him out. When we got home, I had to say something. This was not me, I always had everything under control, (cool and calm). I could only tell my wife the bare minimum of what the doctor did to me during grade school, no details

Over a period of months, I felt the need to tell her more but couldn’t tell her, so I wrote emails explaining everything as best as I could. I
was beyond terrified because I was sure she'd leave me. Who would want tainted goods or want to be with someone who held this secret for over 40yrs? How could I ever be trusted? I’d never cried so much in my life. I’d get mad at myself since I believed real men don’t cry; they just suck it up and move forward. That was how I was raised. I expected anger and resentment but she opened her arms and gave me a huge hug and said it was okay and said it explained a lot of my personality.

For the first time, I felt like a heavy weight was taken off my shoulders. I can’t even remember how many times since then that I apologized and asked if she still wants to be with me but the answer was always the same; she loved me regardless of what happened. Eventually, I felt overwhelmed and wanted to apologize at what kind of dad I’d been while my kids grew up. I was always there physically but not mentally.

So, what is blocking me from moving forward? I know I won't see a counsellor or even attempt to join a group with other men living through this. I'm just not ready and I can't trust anyone. My hope is one day to accept, acknowledge, and forgive myself since it was not my fault but I’m light years away from doing so right now.



Roger Mann said...

Joy, as you recover from your traumatic childhood I think you will find it more comfortable in seeking professional help to get through the tough parts. It's all about learning to accept reality in all of this. Dealing with the lies and accepting and even embracing the truth of the real man that you are now.

Just my thoughts

Zale Dowlen said...

Hi Joe:

I agree with Roger. However, I encourage you to be kind to yourself. Don't force it. You may find that it's most comfortable to read/listen to books on child abuse. Or, you may find comfort in inner healing prayer, like HeartSync, Sozo or Immanuel. Or, you may find comfort in Celebrate Recovery. Counseling is good, but it can be tough to find a counselor you are comfortable with.

We are all different. Our trauma has effected us differently. True, there are similarities. But we were harmed differently and we heal differently. Keep telling your story in safe settings. Keep yourself open to growth and it will come. Remember, if your growth does not seem to be coming fast enough, give yourself permission to go SLOWER. Healing takes time, whether we like it or not.

Good job!

Gianni said...

Thanks guys.

jhoenshell said...

I'm just now reading this for the 1st time... and my heart is monstrously heavy for Joe! Thank you for your honesty, my friend! My pain is similar, in that I kept my wife & everyone in the hazy/fuzzy dark place about the EXTENT of my childhood abuse (which involved 6 different men, over 13 years). Maintaining the "Lie" was critical in my thinking. I was protecting them all from the depth of pain I had experienced, and was just utterly convinced God would overlook my own secret self-soothing habits because I had legitimately been a victim! It wasn't until one of my habits was exposed that I finally faced the profoundness of my abuse, and am only now on the road to recovery (I'll slam into age 60 in a couple months). Oh, my friend...continue to seek help! The Lies cripple you as much as the memories do. PTL your wife was so forgiving -- mine still struggles & has herself plummeted into real moments of despair. I highly recommend Celebrate Recovery. And Zale is right; full healing takes time. Usually MUCH longer than any of us prefers. Don't be discouraged... falling into a pit was way easier than climbing out of one.

Thank you for sharing.

Brian Ross said...


Thank you for your response. If I am correct, I have never told my story to you. You said you were talking about yourself, but we're you by chance in my head or in front of me listening to me? Our stories are pretty much exactly the same. I am your age or very close and have been married 37 years and it has been a horrible struggle. My wife is wonderful, she stays and I am so thankful, but not sure why. Here I am 52 years later and still fighting the fight. It is a constant Struggle! If you or anyone you know is struggling, please get in touch with me. I am still a work in progress and every story here touches me, I really get it But haven't told very many people. But I will talk with other victims. If I can help another human being, it is better to talk than sit and cry. There is so much more to my story, maybe one day I can get it all out of my head, but for now keep reading and hoping to help others.Much thanks to all of you for talking and telling your stories. If only one day all of us will be healed, let's continue to pray! Thanks for listening and maybe one day we will talk or meet!

Joe said...

Hey, there.

I would be interested in hearing your story and see how you are doing during your recovery. Drop your email address here and I will respond.

Doug Bee said...

Just a note to affirm each of the stories here, and the people behind them. Please reach out and share with each other! As I recently completed an online course to stop a porn addiction, I have become friends with someone who was abused repeatedly. You are all so brave!
I found this blog from a link in the book “Not Quite Healed” by Cecil Murphey and Gary Roe. A really great book I read to understand what my friend might be going through.
Your stories are consistent with the book says... being in your late forties or fifties as you work on these issues is normal.
I just want to say you are loved, and the healing process is a great journey of recovery and understanding. Peace to you all.