Friday, October 24, 2014

Shadow Boxing

(This is an encore post from an anonymous reader.)

One of the strange things about surviving sexual abuse is that it never quite feels like I’ve survived it. I have to remind myself quite often that the abuse was in the past and isn't happening to me today. However, having suffered so much in my childhood resulted in a nasty case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that went undiagnosed for more than thirty years. I’ve realized that this is why I keep shadow boxing with the memories and feelings of being abused long into adulthood.

Someone older and bigger abused me. The size and age differential were massive and caused me to live my life in fear of other men. When I walked into a room or drove down the street, any man I saw was bigger and more powerful than I was, even if they really weren’t.

In business meetings the other men had advantages over me because I thought of myself as weaker than them. Even women were stronger and more powerful, especially if they seemed to be "together" or strong-minded.

One of the most difficult things I've wrestled with as an abuse survivor is realizing that these thoughts and feelings are irrational. They're the shadows of the past, the specters of abuse that rendered me powerless and feeling that I'm less than the man I really am. I struggle with continually giving my power away to other people, especially men, even if they have no advantage over me.

There's no way to win at shadow boxing. The shadows are real; they have no real power. As I continue to overcome my abuse, one of my greatest strengths is to realize that shadow boxing is useless. When I realize that I am caught up in an irrational thought pattern or feeling, I stop, surrender to God, and claim for myself the true freedom of who I am at this moment.


Roger Mann said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roger Mann said...

I'm so familiar with the feeling of 'less than'. It's a shadow I've dodged all my life. I grew up feeling like there must have been some book on how a boy/man is supposed to act; filled with things he should know and skills that every boy is just either born with or develops naturally if they are normal.

I did'nt get that book. I scrambled awkwardly through life, observing, comparing, mimicking as best I could all the 'normals', hoping to fit in, hoping no one would see I was different, freaky.

Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't but even when it did, I always knew it was a lie. Worse there were always some who seem to see right through it leading to more shame, guilt and feelings of 'less than'.

I'm better now, thanks to God, counseling, celebrate recovery programs and the love and support of my wife and friends. The ghosts of those feelings still drift in and out from time to time leaving me feeling insecure for a time and wondering if it will ever completely go away.

I no longer trust what I feel, I trust what God says about me and that has brought balance and stability I never thought I would ever experience.

Just my thoughts

Cec Murphey said...

Excellent comment, Roger. If there was a male manual, I didn't get a copy either.

But, like you, through the loving support of friends and God, I've been writing my own manual.

Joseph said...

Thanks, Roger. I had those same feelings. All I ever wanted was to be a man, but felt less than a man because of what happened to me. God has been gracious to put godly men in my old age who are genuine friends. I am at ease with them. I give God all the credit and praise.

Thanks for sharing your feelings. I've found it a good thing to share, and I thank Cec for providing this venue for us.