(Occasionally unsolicited responses come to me personally. This one, from James, touched me and I wanted to share. His entire message covered several pages, but I wanted to pass on to you the first paragraphs. --Cec)
I'm trying to figure this out, and I am just beginning . . .
Twelve months ago, I recognized/admitted that I was sexually abused as a child, but I still struggled to understand what that means, to be abused. Seven months ago, I started more focused therapy for that abuse, and joined a male survivor group. I’ve come a long way since beginning that group, but I recognize that I’ve barely began to peel away the outer layers of the artichoke/onion, to understand and deal with the consequences of that abuse. About two weeks ago, I began reading Not Quite Healed by Cecil Murphey and Gary Roe. It feels like I’ve made more progress in these past two weeks than the 12 months prior.
I need to be healed, I need to stay in the fight, there is too much at stake. I am tempted to turn back, to forget, to ignore the problems, to pretend it will all be okay if I turn my back on the process of healing. Because healing requires dealing with the struggle and the pain, dealing with my own shame and failures. It is so foolish to turn back, the struggle doesn’t go away, my childhood has affected all of my relationships, the shame eats at me from the inside; it just remains private. I realize this is going to be a lifelong journey.
“At our core, we are sexual creatures, male and female. This is part of being created in the image of God. When others abuse us sexually, they touch us at the center of our being. Everything becomes skewed and produces a ripple effect that spreads through our entire personhood. The abuse alters the way we see ourselves, others, God, and life itself.”
Some effects of the abuse and unmet needs of childhood: lack of intimacy with my wife, attempt to be in control, lack of self-worth, maintaining silence about my needs and wants, not having a voice / speaking up for myself, sexual deviance. Somewhat related is a desire for a mother love and father love that I didn’t get. I will review these first few chapters again as they have hit so many nerves. I want to go more in depth and explore and identify them more fully.
I think most of my conflict with myself over the years was due to lack of mother and father love. I felt abandoned by my birth-father because he died before I was born. I was definitely and deliberately rejected by my step-father, and I don’t know to this day whether my mother loved me or not. She never defended me to by step-father; at least I never knew it if she did. My sister (15 years younger than I) and I had different fathers, and recently I got up nerve enough to ask her if she remembered mother ever telling her she loved her. The reply was, “No, but I remember her telling me I was full of the devil.” I was never allowed to participate in extracurricular school activities, nor was my sister. She probable has had as many emotional conflicts as I.
I was ready bait for the first molester who came along. However, it was many years before I realized it was abuse and molestation of an unloved and brow-beaten adolescent. I was not looking for male sex; I needed male companionship. As you stated, that molestation caused all kinds of problems in my hidden life, my church life, and worst of all in my married life. But God who is rich in mercy, in His own time and in His own way, began to break the chains and to tear down walls. And as I have shared with some of the men at my church some of my journey, I have had two men confide that they too had been molested by older males when they were children. So, God is using what I went through, and the freedom that I am experiencing and that I know can happen to abused men. I am happy to give testimony of the faithfulness of God even through horrible things that happen.
I too tried denial for many years but my abuse went on way to long and was to complicated to ignore. It also affected every area of my life some of which I never realized till I got into counseling and recovery work. While the acting out is gone much of the mental stuff is still troubling and every time I get a break through it seems to uncover something else I need to work on. It is a journey, not a destination and I have come to accept that God in not just interesting in fixing what I saw as problems so I can be happy. He wants to make me whole and that is a lot more work for the poor guy.
Lord, please help me to cooperate.
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