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#412674 - 10/10/12 03:22 AM Life After Abuse: Forgiveness & Freedom
M. J. Stewart Offline


Registered: 10/01/12
Posts: 20
Loc: PA
Everyone’s processes their experience with abuse differently. There really are no two stories exactly alike. For me, forgiving my abuser wasn’t a major challenge because for years I hadn’t looked at my abuse as something someone did to me, but something I allowed to happen to myself. Subsequently, the hardest person for me to forgive was MYSELF.

Many of you are probably familiar with the term “grooming” as it relates to sexual abuse but for those of you who are not familiar Dr. Michael Welner defines it as: “… the process by which an offender draws a victim into a sexual relationship and maintains that relationship in secrecy.” My abuser groomed me by developing a trusting relationship and making the abuse seem like a game. Something about the game seemed very unnatural and at six I was faced with a dichotomy. On one hand I hated the abuse and wanted it to stop but on the other hand I loved the attention and didn’t want to lose the relationship. Being that it was obviously my first sexual experience it seemed as if my body was ‘betraying’ me and craving for the sex acts as months passed. I couldn’t understand how I could hate something so much yet want it to so bad. Once I was older and the abuse stopped at eight, I was confused about my role in the abuse.

I immediately begin to feel like something had to be wrong with me to allow someone to commit such deplorable acts on me for so long and yet still have affection for the abuser. At this point I wasn’t silent about the abuse because I was protecting him, I was silent because I was ashamed of myself and feared the judgment of others. As memories replayed in the theater of my mind, I sat condemning myself. There had to be something wrong with me to even make me a target. Deep seeds of self-hatred begin to grow and I watered them often with my own ‘self-talk’. Nothing I would dare say aloud but the things I agreed with in my mind.

It was like being in courtroom in my own mind. I was the judge, jury and prosecutor. I asked myself questions like “what is wrong with you that he would even target you?” and “Wasn’t it your fault? Maybe something you did made him think you wanted it”. I went further and questioned myself deeper asking “well if you didn’t want it why didn’t you just tell? You must have wanted it”. The final address was made, the verdict was in and I had found myself GUILTY for my own abuse. The sentence was life to be spent in the confines of self-pity, self-hatred, insecurity, self-rejection, feeling of worthlessness and inadequacy.

Later as a teenager I was raped and degraded indescribably. Once again I felt it was my fault. I didn’t for one moment blame my abuser. Once again I put myself on trial in my mind and I was found guilty of putting myself in a vulnerable position. Hadn’t I learned anything about trusting people? I must have wanted this to happen! This time I was sentenced to a life of living with the guilt of yet another violation of my body and my soul.

An anger person was birthed from these experiences. I was angry at myself and felt the need to be overprotective of my personal space. I didn’t want to ever be vulnerable again or seem weak. My personality became lost underneath a persona I had to develop to survive and protect myself. Something I had felt I had always failed to do before.

In my book you will find the details of how I came to forgive myself but just know that it was one of the hardest things I have ever done. Soon after I forgave my abuser, a task that was only easy because eat that point God had forgiven me from so much that I found it easy to extend him that same grace and forgive him. Not even just for him, but because I didn’t want any more bitterness and anger to rule my life (mind, body or spirit). I guess to say I forgave would be an understatement, because I did more than forgive him. I FREED him and when I freed him, I freed me. I also needed to free all the people I felt should have protected me and didn’t: my mother, my father who had abandoned me years ago and my family who I felt weren’t functional enough to lean on. I had to free them of my expectations, my resentment, my anger, my frustrations and my blame. The process of freeing them wasn’t overnight. It has been progressive. As time goes on, I free them more and more and simultaneously I free myself from the burden of being upset, angry and pointing the finger.

Getting past the hurdle or forgiveness and positioned me perfectly to rebuild myself and restore all the things that had been lost because of my abuse. I didn’t want to live a life bound by the chains of my past. A huge part of my life had been stolen by my abuser, but I didn’t want to spend what was left remaining in that unhealthy place. As I said many times before, being a survivor wasn’t enough. That just meant my abusers' attempts didn't destroy me mentally, physically or emotionally. I needed something more. I needed something that meant I has stood on top of all the things that once stood on top of me!. I wanted to become an OVER-COMER!
_________________________
Visit my blog>>> http://www.sanctumsanctorium.com/

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#412717 - 10/10/12 06:00 PM Re: Life After Abuse: Forgiveness & Freedom [Re: M. J. Stewart]
Country Offline


Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 642
Loc: Alabama
I can so relate bro. Thanks for posting this.
_________________________
Ephesians 6:13

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Ephesians 5:25

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her

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#412727 - 10/10/12 09:08 PM Re: Life After Abuse: Forgiveness & Freedom [Re: M. J. Stewart]
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3377
Loc: somewhere in Africa
Excellent post, MJ!

i know forgiveness is a difficult concept - even a trigger - for many survivors. for me it was essential - and as you say, a freeing experience. i don't think i could have progressed at all without it. and it is ongoing...

Thank you for writing and sharing this.
Lee

PS *** IT HAS ALSO BEEN ONE OF THE HARDEST AND MOST PAINFUL THINGS I HAVE EVER DONE!!!***


Edited by traveler (10/10/12 10:07 PM)
Edit Reason: PS
_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago


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#412730 - 10/10/12 09:52 PM Re: Life After Abuse: Forgiveness & Freedom [Re: M. J. Stewart]
Jude Offline


Registered: 08/09/12
Posts: 1513
Loc: New England
Forgive the pedophile. This makes me angry. I want to piss on his grave. I want to see him burn in hell, and I want to be there to light the match. Forgive the man who drugged me, forced his dick down my throat and raped me? Forgive the man who filled me with anger, fear and self-hate? Forgive the man who caused me to turn to a lifetime of drugs and alcohol to blunt the pain he inflicted on me? Forgive the man who saw to it that I could never have a normal emotional or sexual relationship with another human being? Forgive the man who put the memories in my mind that still invade my days and nights, making me double over in pain? I DON'T WANT TO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But what if I NEED to? What if, as M.J. writes, forgiving that son of a bitch (my words not his) is the missing piece to my own healing? I've been complaining to my therapist that I don't feel like I'm getting anywhere with this recovery stuff and I would do anything to get past it and stop the pain. What if I need to forgive him? Could I? Would I be willing to let go of the hate and anger? Would I be willing to do it? Honestly I just don't know right now. I just don't know.
_________________________
I went back to the doctor
To get another shrink.
I sit and tell him about my weekend,
But he never betrays what he thinks.
Can you see the real me, doctor?.
The Who

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#412738 - 10/10/12 11:21 PM Re: Life After Abuse: Forgiveness & Freedom [Re: traveler]
M. J. Stewart Offline


Registered: 10/01/12
Posts: 20
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: traveler
Excellent post, MJ!

i know forgiveness is a difficult concept - even a trigger - for many survivors. for me it was essential - and as you say, a freeing experience. i don't think i could have progressed at all without it. and it is ongoing...

Thank you for writing and sharing this.
Lee

PS *** IT HAS ALSO BEEN ONE OF THE HARDEST AND MOST PAINFUL THINGS I HAVE EVER DONE!!!***

Thanks sir! Indeed it was hard but necessary. Glad you found your strength to do the right thing.
_________________________
Visit my blog>>> http://www.sanctumsanctorium.com/

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#412741 - 10/10/12 11:25 PM Re: Life After Abuse: Forgiveness & Freedom [Re: Jude]
M. J. Stewart Offline


Registered: 10/01/12
Posts: 20
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: Jude
Forgive the pedophile. This makes me angry. I want to piss on his grave. I want to see him burn in hell, and I want to be there to light the match. Forgive the man who drugged me, forced his dick down my throat and raped me? Forgive the man who filled me with anger, fear and self-hate? Forgive the man who caused me to turn to a lifetime of drugs and alcohol to blunt the pain he inflicted on me? Forgive the man who saw to it that I could never have a normal emotional or sexual relationship with another human being? Forgive the man who put the memories in my mind that still invade my days and nights, making me double over in pain? I DON'T WANT TO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But what if I NEED to? What if, as M.J. writes, forgiving that son of a bitch (my words not his) is the missing piece to my own healing? I've been complaining to my therapist that I don't feel like I'm getting anywhere with this recovery stuff and I would do anything to get past it and stop the pain. What if I need to forgive him? Could I? Would I be willing to let go of the hate and anger? Would I be willing to do it? Honestly I just don't know right now. I just don't know.


I FEEL you Jude! Forgiveness can be hard and it's a process that can't be rushed. I will say this, to say I forgave my abuser is an understatement. I had to free him of the expectations and all the emotions I placed on him so that I could free myself to accept that he was never going to know how much he had hurt me. I freed myself to realize that there was never going to be a way to erase what happened but if I wanted to move forward and be in the present I had to free myself from the past. I even had to forgive myself for the unrealistic blame I placed on myself.

Easier said and realized than done, of course. My life, however, was at stake so I was worth fighting for. That's just my story though...learn from what you can but don't feel pressured.
_________________________
Visit my blog>>> http://www.sanctumsanctorium.com/

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#412943 - 10/12/12 08:01 PM Re: Life After Abuse: Forgiveness & Freedom [Re: M. J. Stewart]
Jude Offline


Registered: 08/09/12
Posts: 1513
Loc: New England
Originally Posted By: M. J. Stewart
[quote=Jude]Forgive the pedophile. This makes me angry. I want to piss on his grave. I want to see him burn in hell, and I want to be there to light the match. Forgive the man who drugged me, forced his dick down my throat and raped me? Forgive the man who filled me with anger, fear and self-hate? Forgive the man who caused me to turn to a lifetime of drugs and alcohol to blunt the pain he inflicted on me? Forgive the man who saw to it that I could never have a normal emotional or sexual relationship with another human being? Forgive the man who put the memories in my mind that still invade my days and nights, making me double over in pain? I DON'T WANT TO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Still struggling with this. Forgiveness makes sense. I want to heal. I want to BE forgiven myself. I want to be a forgiving person. I sound like an angry asshole above. But it ALL just makes me so ANGRY. Wish i could just lay it all down, but I'm not there yet.

Jude
_________________________
I went back to the doctor
To get another shrink.
I sit and tell him about my weekend,
But he never betrays what he thinks.
Can you see the real me, doctor?.
The Who

Top
#412984 - 10/13/12 05:44 AM Re: Life After Abuse: Forgiveness & Freedom [Re: Jude]
M. J. Stewart Offline


Registered: 10/01/12
Posts: 20
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: Jude
Originally Posted By: M. J. Stewart
[quote=Jude]Forgive the pedophile. This makes me angry. I want to piss on his grave. I want to see him burn in hell, and I want to be there to light the match. Forgive the man who drugged me, forced his dick down my throat and raped me? Forgive the man who filled me with anger, fear and self-hate? Forgive the man who caused me to turn to a lifetime of drugs and alcohol to blunt the pain he inflicted on me? Forgive the man who saw to it that I could never have a normal emotional or sexual relationship with another human being? Forgive the man who put the memories in my mind that still invade my days and nights, making me double over in pain? I DON'T WANT TO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Still struggling with this. Forgiveness makes sense. I want to heal. I want to BE forgiven myself. I want to be a forgiving person. I sound like an angry asshole above. But it ALL just makes me so ANGRY. Wish i could just lay it all down, but I'm not there yet.

Jude

Step by step sir, don't press the process! let all things, including forgiveness flow organically.
_________________________
Visit my blog>>> http://www.sanctumsanctorium.com/

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#413020 - 10/13/12 04:59 PM Re: Life After Abuse: Forgiveness & Freedom [Re: M. J. Stewart]
KMCINVA Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1629
I think forgiving yourself is the first step--I need to forgive and accept I was not responsible for what happened. I still carry guilt so I must forgive myself. A part of me harbor feelings of being special and loved by the abuser while another part despises him--I need to accept and forgive the part that feels special toward him--this part only knew love as abuse. These I must do first. I never think of forgiving the abuser because in order to forgive I must forgive myself. If that makes any sense--it is hard because guilt and shame about the abuse is so ingrained in me.

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#413139 - 10/15/12 01:30 AM Re: Life After Abuse: Forgiveness & Freedom [Re: KMCINVA]
M. J. Stewart Offline


Registered: 10/01/12
Posts: 20
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: KMCINVA
I think forgiving yourself is the first step--I need to forgive and accept I was not responsible for what happened. I still carry guilt so I must forgive myself. A part of me harbor feelings of being special and loved by the abuser while another part despises him--I need to accept and forgive the part that feels special toward him--this part only knew love as abuse. These I must do first. I never think of forgiving the abuser because in order to forgive I must forgive myself. If that makes any sense--it is hard because guilt and shame about the abuse is so ingrained in me.

It makes total sense...I can completely relate!
_________________________
Visit my blog>>> http://www.sanctumsanctorium.com/

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