Quick Thought #20 – As a Male Sexual Assault Survivor, I’m Appalled by what the US is Doing to Women

Quick Thought #20 – As a Male Sexual Assault Survivor, I’m Appalled by what the US is Doing to Women

I cannot imagine the kind of harm we are doing to female survivors when we tell them they have to carry their pregnancy to term. That they remain in a condition where they have no choice. States, including my own, that have or are moving toward enacting complete bans on abortion with no exception for rape and incest victims are ripping the choice of how to move forward away, victimizing these survivors a second time. Forcing their own desires on the bodies of women.

If your religion is willing to force the victim of a violent crime to continue to be violated in this way, you need a better religion. You need a better god, and you absolutely need a better heart. You are not righteous, you are an abuser.

Sharing My Own Story With Tiffany Werhner on Moments of Clarity

Sharing My Own Story With Tiffany Werhner on Moments of Clarity

Yesterday, I was a guest again on my friend Tiffany Werhner’s radio show/podcast Moments of Clarity. We chatted about my story of child abuse, dissociation, major depression, and eventually, my experiences with therapy and more. If you are a survivor or know someone who is who could use a reminder that the abuse does not define them, and wasn’t their fault, please share this with them.

It’s OK to Just Enjoy Something For Yourself

It’s OK to Just Enjoy Something For Yourself

I came upon this idea later in life than some of you may have. Thanks to an abusive childhood and a fairly demanding church involvement in my teens and twenties, I was about 30 when I finally gave myself the freedom to take on a hobby just because I enjoyed it.

For me, I grew up never feeling good enough or worthy. I needed someone else to tell me it was OK for me to do something, or heaven forbid to spend money on something just because I liked it.

Grief is Hard, and Long
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Grief is Hard, and Long

Something else interests me about grief though and that is the grief that child abuse survivors have because it’s complicated. We aren’t grieving a person we’ve lost, we’re grieving something we never had. A safe, happy childhood or a loving parental relationship that didn’t exist. The lack of any kind of family bonds as an adult, or the inability to trust anyone. Those are things we can, and should, grieve. Often we aren’t given the chance to do that. Other people expect us to “put it behind us” because it was a long time ago. We may even convince ourselves that the best option is to suck it up and forget it, no reason to think about any of that. But, I think there’s a reason to grieve the things we didn’t have as children. They are very real losses. They have very real impacts on our brains and our emotional well-being. We can’t change it now, but we can allow ourselves the freedom to feel grief over it. It’s part of the process. 

Concentric Circles of Trauma

Concentric Circles of Trauma

No, the easiest way to break up those circles, as any kid who threw rocks into the water can tell you, is to throw another rock and create new concentric circles starting from a different location.

Gee, in my metaphor about the trauma I wonder what those other rocks could be? Mental health treatment? Care and support from family and friends? The elimination of stigma attached to trauma?

How about instead of ignoring the circles we started throwing some more useful rocks and disrupting the cycles of trauma that we see repeated over and over again in those circles?

The Many Ways We Invalidate Someone’s Story
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The Many Ways We Invalidate Someone’s Story

We could also talk about abuse here too, and all the ways our stories all invalidated. How many of these have you heard from folks who find out about the abuse you dealt with as a child, or even as an adult:

“You were young, you’ll get over it” (Or you don’t remember it that well)

“Are you sure it was abuse?”

“I can’t imagine (abuser) doing that”

“Why didn’t you just leave?”

“How could you have let that happen?”