Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Stranger in His Own Body

"I felt cut off from my own body and from my sexuality," one man said. He added, "Something inside was stolen from me."

It was a sad story and one I had heard before. The sexual abuse had stopped years earlier; the psychological assault continued. His perpetrator still held on to his mind.

Some boys unconsciously learn to "leave their bodies" while the molestation takes place. That's their escape and the way they survive. The problem is that they don’t fully return to their bodies. It's as if the abuse didn't happen to them, but only to their body. That may sound like some form of schizophrenic separation—a split within the personality.

I understand that because of the repeated physical abuse from my father. When he beat me (and he did it regularly), in an unexplainable way, I was able to move outside myself and experience no pain.

Not being hurt by the beatings enabled me to survive childhood, but it did more. Not feeling pain numbed all my emotions into adulthood.

I had to learn to feel again. Each morning I prayed, "God, help me feel my feelings." It took months, probably two years, before I felt true pain and enjoyed honest pleasure.

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