Guest post by “BJ” – member of the Men’s Support Group at SafePlace
When I attended the SafePlace Men’s Support Group it was the first time I had met other men who were victims of childhood sexual abuse and had gone through similar abuse that I went through. Going to SafePlace changed my life; meeting fellow survivors face-to-face and sharing the day to day challenges of being a survivor was very healing.
Knowing that other men had been through similar experiences like I had been through, understanding I was not alone in the shame, guilt, rage and isolation I felt from the abuse gave me the strength to continue digging deeper into to my issues. I learned more about myself than I have at any other time in my life. I was able to trace back why I’ve had suicidal thoughts since I was 13 years old, and today, at 44, I can honestly say I am not having those thoughts anymore.
I learned I am an alcoholic. My drinking was a way to cope with the pain from my childhood abuse. I realized how I interacted with people and loved ones in my life was completely inappropriate; I would push them away, not letting them get close to me in fear that they would leave me if they knew what happened to me. The shame from the abuse was so ingrained in my mind I did not know how I was acting was pushing people away. It was the only life I had ever known. I could not believe anyone would want to help and support me. I made many bad choices in pushing some good people away, and did many things I regret today. Without the support of SafePlace and the men in the group I would not be where I am today.
In today’s society, men are not supposed to be weak or talk about their vulnerabilities. For any male survivor of childhood sexual abuse, or anyone who has been sexually abused, coming to SafePlace, or finding a good therapist to work through the issues, will change your life.
Today I continue to get great support from friends and family. Today I am living honestly with myself and others. I understand the abuse is nothing to be ashamed about – all the negative feelings I have had towards myself because of the abuse were completely ridiculous. I did not ask for those things to happen to me, it was not my fault and the abusers need to live with what they have done. Each day life gets better. I so appreciate all the people at SafePlace and the people who are supporting me today.
Please call our 24-hour Hotline at 512.267.7233 for the most up-to-date info about when the Men’s Support Group meets.
1in6.org is another great resource for men sexually abused as boys.