At Mike Lew's workshop just before the NYC conference, one thing he had us do was break up into small groups and write down on large sheets of paper all the ways we could think of that CSA can mess up a guy's life. I won't go through the list of ways, but you can just imagine the lists that 26 guys produced! We formed a circle and each group read out their list, and then Mike asked us to consider what an achievement it is just for us to function every day, much less do anything with our lives.
I think something similar can be said about these feelings like "I'm weird", "I'm so abnormal", "I'm not worth anything", etc. If we consider all the ways CSA affects us it becomes absolutely clear why we get those feelings about ourselves.
You know what I think we should do with those feelings? OWN them! Acknowledge them as real, in the sense of saying, okay, this IS how I feel.
Bu that doesn't mean the feelings are accurate. I may FEEL guilty, but that doesn't mean I AM guilty. If I acknowledge my feelings on this subject, then I can drag them out into the light - working with my T or talking with friends where I live or the guys here - and test them. Are they really true?
That's a scary idea at first, because we are always afraid that if we do that, all we will get is confirmation that we really are as lousy and abnormal as we fear we are. But in my experience that has never happened. I thought I was to blame for the abuse - I wasn't! I thought I wanted it - I didn't! I thought I was worthless and good for nothing except what abusers want - I wasn't! The list goes on and on.
This is what I mean when I say here that the only road past Crapville is the street that goes right through the town square. It does hurt when we allow ourselves to feel again and accept the reality of those feelings. It sucks - pure and simple. But in the end we also discover that these bad feelings are all just false lessons served up by the abuser. We were good kids then, and we are good men now.
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me. (Woody Guthrie)