When I began my journey out of victimhood, I didn’t realize I was a victim. My father was my primary abuser, but there were others. I was in my 40’s when I realized something was terribly wrong with me, and that’s where everyone starts, I guess. When you stop rationalizing and accept that something is wrong and you need help. I struggled with counselors, psychologists, and self-help groups and books and made little progress. It was discouraging. Then I found a website for men who had been sexually abused as kids. A place to tell their stories, be believed and find support and encouragement.
That’s when it finally clicked. The more I read of others’ stories and symptoms, the more I was able to check off that list in my own life. It happed, it was real, and the effects explained all the issues I was having. My own lies of wonderful family life and a good childhood came crashing down under the assault of Truth.
And yes, there was anger, grief, sadness, and eventually acceptance but not for a long time. I wanted a dad I could look up to as my hero. By George, I was going to remember him that way if it killed me and it almost did. The guilt I felt for letting it happen, (as if I could have stopped him), the shame of having a family with such a secret, such hypocrisy, such a lie, was almost more than I could bear. I took it out on myself and on those around me. It was awful for a long time.
I guess most of you know the feeling of having Truth come crashing through that barricade of lies that we tell ourselves in order to keep some sanity in our lives. It’s shocking and sometimes awful. I remember the first time someone tried to tell me how babies were made. We didn’t talk about that stuff at my house, and I was just maybe five or six. An older boy had me in a refrigerator cardboard box we had turned into a fort. He was trying to molest me and thought telling me this secret information would help I suppose. It didn’t.
In fact, I couldn’t get away fast enough. I mean, Ewwww! I knew he lied. That just didn’t make any sense, and MY parents would never do anything like that. I never trusted him again. But, by the time I was 12, I’d not only made peace with that knowledge, but it had become somewhat of an obsession to find out all I could about it. Truth has that strange quality of just not being what my mind would’ve thought possible or probable. It is stranger than fiction. I don’t remember much about my early years but I do remember that.
The point being that unless the truth is accepted no matter how strange, painful or difficult, no progress can be made towards healing. Healing only occurs in reality. Lies and denial just prolong the pain and allows it to fester into full-blown pathology.
And that’s where hope comes in. Acceptance can bring a peace that can allow you to embrace reality all around you. Healing can begin when one accepts the reality of one’s situation. I’m in a much better place now and in a good marriage. Life still goes on, and I’m not fighting myself anymore. I’m still not happy with my history, but I accept that it is my history. From there, I move on to better things. I have Hope, and I can pass that hope alone to other strugglers.
Just My Thoughts by – Roger Mann
A website initially started by Dr. Cecil Murphy to help men who were sexually abused. The site provides an outlet for men to express their hearts about their experiences and how they are regaining the courage to live a full life. Dr. Murphy has since retired and pass the mantel to Roger Mann, who does a great job.