Here's a long thread that I think some of you would find interesting... I asked for help in my men's group:
I am writing today to tell you a bit about what's been difficult
For the last 6 months I have been having intense flashbacks and
of childhood sexual abuse, in which I was tied up and raped by
and molested by my mother.
It has been a terrifying ordeal which has reduced me to, at
shivering in my bed, hiding under the covers, and laying in the
The devastation is so great, that I am literally fighting for my life.
Thinking I was crazy, in November I found a psychologist whom I
She is an expert in trauma and has worked with other survivors.
helped me by listening and reflecting, and working with the
I will go into this more later, but for now I want to ask for
One of the most devastating aspects of the abuse is the silence
isolation that surrounds it, and the sense of 'it's my fault, I
this/deserved this'. I have signed on to *** and am trying to get into a male survivors
This will help me to not feel so alone, to share my story and pain.
Unfortunately, *** has a wait list and I have been waiting
November. Apparently, they are in a holding pattern because they
find a male facilitator. So I am asking you all, if you know of
that could facilitate a group of male survivors, to please have
contact me or ***.
My friend wrote this back to me:
"Know that I am hearing you and sending you love.
> Seriously, you write of these dreams. Are they things that actually happened to you, or dreams in which in the dream, they are happening to you ? Are you imaginging this abuse took place or were you abused by your parents?"
My response was:
This is exactly the type of response that reinforces the cycle of child
We say say 'oh no, that doesn't happen in OUR family'.. 'You must be
imagining things'.. 'You're a crazy person'.. 'You have false memories'..
We doubt our children when they show signs of being hurt. We don't even
know what to look for.
And then when the shocking truth reveals itself, usually through a
gruesome headline news story, of YET ANOTHER child raped and used... we
POUNCE like wild animals on the predator, thinking that locking him away
will solve the problem.
Child abuse happens in secret. Our collective recovery from it begins
when ordinary people, such as myself, act courageously by speaking up
Honestly, it would be much easier for me just to keep coping, not to
have to deal with the heart-rending consequences of the truth I am
facing. But that would not be trusting myself, and I would be ignoring
the cries of my soul, my little boy.
Who wants to feel that their father, mother, aunt, uncle, or a family
friend is actually abusing a child? No one. But the facts remain, the
vast majority of child abusers are people a child knows and trusts.
For example, a government of Canada stat:
"Police-reported data for 2009 indicate that children and youth under
the age of 18 were most likely to be sexually victimized or physically
assaulted by someone they knew (85% of incidents)."http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-224-x/2010000/aftertoc-aprestdm2-eng.htm
So if we are serious about protecting children, we ought to be willing
to look at not only our own shadow, but to challenge the shadows of
others within our own family and friends.
With sword and heart,
"To be honest, every time I have another gut-busting memory of being
bound, ropes around wrists, or an image of my dad in the bathtub naked
smiling crookedly at me, or being held under the shower, or a yellowy
condom stained with blood, or blood running down my leg....
I shiver and contort and cry out in pain... sometimes the feeling stays
with me for days.
I feel like a bad person for saying something. I feel crazy. I feel
responsible. I feel like a pedophile.
Then I remember other things that my dad said and did that tried to make
me feel responsible for his abuse.
It is so twisted.
And then I want to bury the whole memory back in the filthy stenchpool
where it came from, because, deep down, I love my dad, I love my mom,
and it tears me apart to have these memories.
When I first started, I really didn't want this to be true. But I wasn't
willing to turn my back on it, out of sheer curiousity, determination,
and a desire to understand why my life has been consistently
dysfunctional. I asked for the reason, and God gave me the feelings, the
dreams, and then the memories that have shown me the truth. I have been
sitting with this for 6 months now and I trust my little boy and thank
him for what he is now ready to remember.
From a clinical perspective, what I'm experiencing right now is well
documented and very normal. I've talked with quite a few other survivors
and several leading experts in the field, and I am not alone (thank god)
in my experiences. I'm off to Santa Cruz in a couple weeks to experience
my first recovery weekend put on by Dr. Howard Fradkin (who was on Oprah
in November with 200 male survivors- an amazing 2 episodes).
So boys, here I go sailing into the storm..."
There were many positive responses. This one from an elder in our community:
"May the wind always be at your back".
"I feel sadness and anger when I read your story. My warrior wants to take
out those who hurt you. My lover wants to give you a hug and reassure you
that all will be well. My magician wants to wave his wand and make it all
go away. My king knows that you are making a good choice with your trip to
Santa Cruz and wishes you a safe, healing, & inspiring journey."
Another friend challenged me:
"This is hard for me to share and I thought about suppressing it. The story
you tell is hard to believe. I found myself doubting it. That is my truth
and I thought long about keeping it to myself. A part of me wants to tell
you to "get over it". A part wants to give you words of advice about seeing
the blessings in this life curriculum that was prepared for you to become
who you want to be.
When I put aside all of that egoic stuff..., what I want to share with you
is my Love. Journey well and remember who you are.
That got me going... Here's what happened:
"Hard for YOU to share. Huh, *** that's really a good one.
Do you want to come down with me to the pits of hell where the little
boy that I was writhed in pain as he was raped? Are you willing to sit
with that truth...?
Hard for YOU to share... that's a good one ***."
"I get that it's hard to hear, and amazing to think that two parents
would be capable of such acts.
But regardless of whether you believe my particular story, the reality
is,.... it happens... has happened, will happen again. And closing our
eyes to it will never make things better.
Sitting in my pain, (does not negate yours)
another response to me:
"I believe that my life is the physical manifestation of my thoughts and
exactly what I need to fulfill myself.
Life is a balancing act. No position, no role is permanent. People and
places are constantly recreating themselves to create new lessons for us to
Make no mistake, no one can tell you who you are, because no one will live
your life but you.
Imagination is the tool you need to find peace. Imagination, if properly
used, let's us focus on positive outcomes.
If you imagine yourself at peace, you'll be at peace. If your thoughts pull
you away, don't worry, just keep imagining until those peaceful moments line
up and carry you along.
You may believe this to be trivial, but the best solutions are the simplest
... it continues:
(from a friend to the guy challenging me)
"I winced when I read you message to ***. I wonder why you would doubt his story? There is nothing incredible about it. Do you know the people involved?
I'm married to a survivor of incest and childhood sexual abuse who has spent most of her adult life recovering, healing educating herself on the topic and finally supporting others. I myself am no expert, but I've come to understand a couple of things. One huge lesson I've learned is that in the case of childhood sexual abuse, the experience of powerlessness combined with the unfathomable nightmare of being isolated by adults' denial and inability to face the truth can wound so deeply that many never recover. Finding the courage to push through that veil of denial within and without at any stage of life is not common, and for the abuse survivor, it's an extremely fragile place to be. What I've learned is that being heard and BELIEVED is so important to the healing process, and being doubted is an assault that can reflex right back to the tenderest heart of the wounded child inside. Now is the time to remove the burden of proof from the survivor. If I believe there is the remotest possibility that my friend is telling the truth about his experience... even a tenth of a percent chance... I will give him the full benefit of the doubt and will not risk the consequence to him of being once again unseen and therefore victimized. If I have issues of doubt, I'll work those out somewhere else.
I appreciate the spirit of authenticity that you're coming from, and don't believe you should "suppress" your feelings, nor do I think that's your only alternative. I don't believe you've intended any harm, but in this case I judge your doubt to be your stuff and I think your choice to be "authentic" might be misplaced.
And I recognize that I have a charge here, and I own that.
With respect and blessings"
"Denial is not healing.
Trauma lives in the body.
And feeling the pain is the gateway to recovery.
'Choosing positive thoughts' & 'I create my own reality' although it
sounds nice.... is missing the picture.
If it were that EASY to simply choose positive thoughts, we wouldn't
have Charles Manson's et al... The reality is, our thoughts, our
emotions, our physical bodies, and our spirit/higher self are intimately
connected, and healing involves all these dimensions working together in
So yes, I was sexually abused by both parents and I CHOOSE to recover.
The first step is to own that IT HAPPENED and then to FEEL the feelings
buried in my cells and tissues. Choosing a better reality comes with
time as the hurts are felt, and my little boy is brought back from the
brink of death."
Another man responds:
No one needs to be speaking for *** (me) here.
*** will speak for himself ...especially now.
Every man is different and should never have his voice taken away or another voice speak for him without the man's express permission.
Many of us as boys have already had our power taken away in childhood.
This is trauma...
As Brothers we now seek to simply listen and support another man if we are able to.
Otherwise we re traumatize a man by dis empowering the man once again...
If something in what the man says here triggers us into our own fears, denial, anger, or shadows, then we as Warriors are able to look at that and not project it onto anyone sharing on this LIST.
We already know this stuff, so let us practice it gently and with love right here and right now."
"I've retitled this thread because we are indeed moving away from ***'s posts and into our own truths, issues, etc., which I agree is the value of this forum.
I salute you for your humility and the spirit of truth-seeking and openness you bring. When you speak about yourself and your own experience, especially with an open mind and heart, I have no charge and nothing but interest and compassion. So with that, here is my response, which I recognize is driven by my own stuff. (And as I delve into the response, I can feel the charge returning, which is the signal to me that I'm doing MY work.)
You find it incredible that parents would gag and bloody their own child? Have you not read the newspapers or seen Oprah? I highly recommend you at least scan the book "The Courage to Heal" by Ellen Bass and Laura Davis, and especially check out the chapter about so-called "false memory". I want to say "wake up brother!" A huge struggle I've had in my life is with idealism and naivete. I don't want to believe that ritual abusers, molesting priests, Jeffrey Dahmers and Josef Mengeles are really out there -- but they are. Human beings are capable of perpetrating unspeakable atrocities, even on their own children. It's born of pain, especially denied pain.
I have witnessed first hand the confession of a prominent doctor, a model citizen, philanthropist etc. who raped and sodomized his own daughters at age 3 and 5 and kept it a secret until they were both adults. His confession to the older daughter was extremely rare, and it helped to restore her sanity. This was a man about whom any of us would say this is not possible. This has to be a false memory. In ***'s case, I'm guessing you don't even know his parents, and yet you say his story is incredible.
My reaction to this is fear, no doubt connected to my own childhood experience of wounding through adult denial. And I fear my own naivete.
I understand how your personal journey has led you to question your own
memories, but do you see how applying that to the rest of the world, and others' memories/accounts is dangerous?
I thank you for being the mirror that you are for me, and for your fearless and continuing pursuit of the highest good for yourself and all of us."
"***: You have my support and any power that I can spare as you go on your journey. If there is anything else I can do please don't hesitate to call."
Me asking for what I want:
"Here's what I want:
1- A space to SAY my truth and be listened to
2- For men to own their judgements and be sensitive to whether your
response is coming from a clear place, or whether you have your own work
around this. Is it 'right' to share with me or can you work offline?
Maybe there is a gift in it for me? Maybe not?
3- To ask for support (phone calls, help with finding a male
4- To develop connection to other brothers who have been / are going
through the same stuff
5- To raise awareness about this issue
Here's what I DO NOT want or expect:
1- To argue about the 'rightness' of my story
2- To be treated any differently
3- To be seen as broken or special
Me responding to the challenger:
"what I don't understand is the function of you saying 'the story you tell is hard to believe'.
What purpose does that serve for you?
Sure, you can say it... what is the cost to the safety of men who may be holding back from disclosing something difficult?
Are you making a statement about your own doubts, or trying to offer something sideways ?
Either way, the way it landed for me was my inner critic and doubter came up. I offer you this:
In my judgement, it does not take any courage to express denial or doubt. There are mountains, behemoths of denial around childhood sexual abuse already. And then we are shocked when it happens in our neighbourhood.
What takes courage is breaking the silence. Let judges and juries decide who is guilty. Whose court do you stand in, brother? Your freedom to express -- at what cost?
"PS There are some who say the holocaust did not happen.
But that statement is an insult to every survivor of that atrocity.
I am German and my parents suffered greatly as a result of the war. The same parents that abused me.
So how to balance the right of self expression with the right to a safe space.? How does that apply to a mens' group? This is the place I have chosen to make my first bigger disclosure. How will you receive this?
How would you receive a holocaust survivor disclosing her trauma? Or a survivor of residential schools?
My choice of how much to share will depend on the safety that I feel in this group. I decided to share this here, because, of all the men in the world, it is you guys that I trust the most to see me clearly.
NOW IT GETS REALLY INTENSE!!!!
The challenger says to me:
A lot of words and thoughts have been shared since I first made the comment.
It is becoming hard to reconnect with exactly what I was getting a hit on,
and I will try.
We are in agreement....we both feel strongly that the truth should not be
suppressed. That is why I voiced my opinion...my truth. I read an eMail
where you expressed outrage that another firend of yours would doubt you. I
chose to stand up and align myself with him/her because I was getting the
same hit. There is something missing in your story...I sense that you are
holding back a much bigger piece in this. I invite you to go deeper and
share the whoel truth and I can appreciate that you may not feel safe in
doing that...that is your choice.
Without the whole truth, maybe its the piece about you feeling like a
pedophile, maybe it's your manipulator, or your perpetrator, whatever it
is..., when it's missing I choose not to trust you. The discussion we had
offline today and the eMail you sent to the list "felt" true to me. The
other posts left me wondering and lacking trust. It is an intuitive hit and
I chose to voice it even though I knew it was going to be controversial. I
have spent my life trying to be the "nice" guy who never ruffles feathers. I
have spent my life holding in my intuitions and beliefs and doubts. That is
not the man that I want to continue being.
If I didn't care .... I would have never brought it up. There are people
perceiving you in this light...at least 2 and I am guessing others as well.
So you can ignore my comments and make it about denial and holocausts and
all sorts of other arguments and court case material of proving who is right
or wrong. Or you can look at this feedback ..., this is how you are being
perceived. I may not have expressed it well, and I may be totally off
base--that's for you to decide OR you can take a look at what I am sensing
see if there is any truth in it for you and then go one layer deeper into
sharing your truth.
In a time when you were reaching out for support, I was struggling with
Trusting you. That's the bottom line."
and he continues:
And there is the hit in all of this for me. I used cancer as a trump card on
more than a few occasions. I led with my wound. I bought favor by eliciting
sympathy for my predicament. There was a part of me that made the most
of bad situation. I'm using the cancer trump card right now looking for ways
to elicit respect and admiration for my journey. Back when I was in surgery
and chemotherapy..., suddenly I was the centre of attention and beyond
I am a manipulator..., even with the most dire of predicaments. Thats my
deeper truth ***..., what's yours?"
"Thank you for owning your manipulator. Right now I judge that you are trying to manipulate my truth.
The hit in this for me is that you are doing what dad did to me.... he rapes me and then he says 'you did this'. 'see what you did'. 'see what you made me do'.
In other words, he blames me for his actions.
I invite you to see how you are manipulating my truth.
I am going to continue with my recovery.
I will not be silenced by you, or anyone else."
"I am so charged up right now.
So charged up.
This is difficult.
My dad is a pedophile.
That is not an 'opinion'.
That is an experience in my body, my ass, where I feel the tearing and the pain and even the enjoyment, later, as he fucks me.
That is an experience of loosing friends and not trusting.
That is an experience of remembering his crooked grin in the shower.
That is an experience of hiding under covers as he was about to come in to my room at night.
All these things and much more live in my body, as I am discovering. They are not 'opinions'.
You are voicing an opinion about my story.
I am voicing a deeply held truth in my body.
I have 56 degrees of idiopathic scoliosis in my spine. Idiopathic means 'from an obscure or unknown cause'. My spine twisted in the years following the abuse. It was how I recoiled and protected myself from the terrible pain that lives within me.
That is my deeper truth.
You are free to continue to state your opinion.
I will continue to listen to my body, my memory, and to trust the little boy in me.
Bless you for being my powerful mirror brother.
Good morning. (it was 1am when I wrote this)
i continue with
"The little boy in me is angry
I speak my truth
acting like a savant
tries to dissuade me of it,
saying 'something doesn't fit'
owning that he is a manipulator
and then demanding to see mine
twists on twists on twists
and i am asking to be the eye
the eye of this storm
asking god as humbly as i can
just show me the Truth."
and then I said:
"frankly I don't care whether you agree with me
I cut those cords
where like a child I cling for your validation
not trusting myself
I cut your story free from mine
so that I may work cleanly
without taking on things
that are not mine to take."
An elder responds:
Men, I've been watching this and feeling the growing anger in my body.
Did you ever watch a bunch of penned chickens pecking at an injured chicken?
I advise *** to disengage from this thread.
I believe this is not the time or place to challenge ***.
I smell perpetration."
The challenger wavers:
"*** and all,
I am in a swirl of shame and anger and loneliness and sleeplessness
I am not sure where to go ro what to say or how I got here...
All I know is that continuing on this path is not working...
I understand that you were abused and raped
I know some of your pain
I pray for your healing and mine
I am out for now....
There's soul searching to be done..."
And he continues:
"> > ***,
> > I understand that you were raped and molested as a child.
> > I understand that your father raped you. I hear that your mother was involved.
> > I sense the great pain that you have experienced and that makes sense to me. I hear that you have a lot of anger and sadness and that also makes sense to me.
> > I understand that parents do these things to children. I want to lash out against this kind of abuse.
> > I wish that I could heal all of this for you. I have no other motive in our conversations on line.
> > I want you to be the generation that puts an end to this kind of abuse.
> > Peace,
> > Sent from my iPhone
> > Sorry for the typing
My response to the challenger:
"*** I don't trust a god damn thing you are saying
What kind of survivor are you?
A man (me) comes on here and tells his story
and you doubt and challenge him
to find his manipulator in it
manipulating me and then seeing yourself in the mirror
i am angry and I don't fucking trust you
i deserve to find a safe space to share this
i dont feel safe sharing
because of what you said
i feel hijacked
my truth used to meet your needs
i judge you to be a manipulator
like my mom and my dad (not NEARLY as intense)
trying to rewrite my history
to serve your own ends
that's my charge with you
and what i own about myself is that the little boy in me is very easily
and has been hurt by truth twisting
the way my mom called me a pedophile
the day before a job interview with kids
out of the fucking blue
the way dad said "you like it"
while he used me
i own that i have shrunk away from children in my shame
and that i have relived the abuse through addictive behaviors
do you know how i survived the incest?
i believed them
if i were to put this back in the box
i would surely manipulate and perpetrate in my own ways
but i wont do that
because i know there is no escape in running.
in the patanjali yoga sutras, they say
suffering is caused by ignorance
which gives rise to the feeling of separation
and from that, aversion to pain and addiction to pleasure
therefore i sit with pain and pleasure
and stop suffering
and break the cycle of abuse
what kind of survivor are you?
have you not struggled to find a safe space to tell?
and felt the enormous relief of being believed for the first time?
despite what abusers tell us?
have you not sat with years of isolation and self-abuse?
reliving the trauma by finding situations that mirror it?
have you not lost friends that found your truth too unsavory or
difficult to bear?
have you not dealt with backlash from other people, telling you you're
just an angry child looking for a target?
have you not thought it would just be better to forget the whole thing?
and then you turn around and say you understand me
you don't understand shit about me ***
what kind of survivor are you?"
.. and so it continues!!!
what a crazy couple days..