Newest Members
BCtejas, JHNebraska, mike42069, JACKL, Personman
12491 Registered Users
Today's Birthdays
mrwhiskers (25), SouthernLaw (41), TerryT (61)
Who's Online
2 registered (Laurie, CafeMan), 81 Guests and 6 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
12491 Members
74 Forums
64159 Topics
447737 Posts

Max Online: 418 @ 07/02/12 07:29 AM
Twitter
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >
Topic Options
#449601 - 10/08/13 09:25 PM New Beginnings How Many Steps to Heal?
KMCINVA Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1782
This past Saturday did not goes as planned but in the end it had a positive effect on me. We were to attend an event in DC on Saturday but with the furloughs the event had to be cancelled because it was to be held on the public grounds. We decided to make the best and enjoy the weather and to walk the city. We both attended college in DC and decided to take a tour of the campus and the neighborhood. I had not been there since my reunion in June. It is a Jesuit university. We walked around talking and laughing about the crazy things done as college students, professors and people. We walked into the quad and there stood the Catholic chapel that I found solace and peace in so many years ago. Long before the memories took over and nearly destroyed my life.

We sat on the bench outside, I was asked did I want to enter. I did not answer. The last time I had been in a church was at my Mom’s funeral almost one year ago—and that was an extremely difficult time—the place of the abuse. We were sitting there for quite some time. I had returned to the college several months ago for my reunion but I did not venture near the chapel. I guess I must have looked bewildered or looked lost because a Jesuit came over and asked if I was alright. I said yes. He asked what brought us here and we said we had attended here many years ago. He said the chapel was open to everyone. He asked if we were Catholic, yes she replied and I said not quite sure, I was but do not know. He said that was alright. I said I had conflicts with the church. He laughed and said many today have issues with the church because of the way the church reacts to social issues and how it handled the sexual abuse cases in the church. He said the church forgets there are human beings, with hearts and minds that live with these issues everyday of their lives. He was understanding and said there was no shame in being conflicted. We continued to talk and he did not ask for the cause of my conflict. Slowly I opened up about my conflict and fear of entering a church. He spoke and said what happened was more common and should not be tolerated nor should I feel ashamed or guilty. He said the Church needed to come out and accept responsibility for what was done. He said he has seen the damage this type of abuse has done to young people who have come to the universities he has worked.

He told us the chapel has been remodeled and was always welcomed to everyone of any faith. I realized I had lost faith but not a sense of the need to have a belief in a higher being, if that makes sense to anyone. I knew I needed faith to go forward but have been battling so many demons and the past. I had come to terms with the diocese when the abuse was validated at recent meetings. I knew the fear of a church still haunted me and facing a place was the next step in healing. I have to admit I sometimes get exhausted trying to imagine how many more steps must I walk before it is over?

We continued talking and slowly we entered the chapel. It had changed but no so much. It remained simple and not ornate. It was quiet and the sunlight shined through the stain glassed windows. We slowly walked around and I began to think of the days I would come to escape the stresses of the world or just to catch a glimpse of myself. I liked myself then and seemed to have the past under control. I had friends, enjoyed a wonderful social life, classes and a job I enjoyed. Everything was so simple. I knew I needed to recapture the simpler things in life. Something I have been contemplating for some time. I have talked to a special person about my dreams and goals for the future. An important component of achieving the life I desire requires me to fully accept the past and accept it is the past and not the present. But each step I take in facing obstacles the greater my sense of freedom becomes.

We left the chapel and we were invited to the Jesuit residence for tea. We went and it was a delightful hour. I forgot how verse in words the Jesuits are. He talked of the need for forgiveness because forgiveness leads to joy and love. He said humans first need to forgive themselves before they can forgive others. I said I have forgiven myself for what happened because it was not my fault. I also said I have forgiven the parish and diocese when the abuse was validated during my meetings with these groups. I have not forgiven the abuser. But he asked what would it take to forgive him? I was without words. He asked did I seek punishment or restitution. I knew I did not seek restitution above what I have received because the years lost could never be recovered. As for punishment, I spoke of the law and the statute of limitations. He then asked did I believe punishment was something I would not be able to achieve. I thought and finally said yes. He told me I have begun to forgive by accepting the limitations of punishment. He asked how my life was today. I said it was good and I was happy, a feeling that I had lost many years ago. He said I had begun to forgive and my feelings are my reward.

He asked were there others I needed to forgive and others to forgive me. I said this is quite complicated. I said others see no wrong or harm in what was done, so how can one forgive when the offender sees no wrong in their actions. He said it is not how they perceive their actions but how I perceive their actions that will determine if I need to forgive. He said only the offenders can look at their actions and decide if they need to ask for forgiveness for the acts. They can simply ask would they want someone to these acts unto them. I did not want to dwell on that period of my life. It created anxiety, fear and feelings of the boy being trapped in the cellar. I had psychological issues from blackout, flashbacks, fugues and dissociation. There was lost time and things I supposedly did that I do not have any memory. He reminded me I was experiencing the long term effects of trauma and these experiences do occur as a result of trauma. He told me I was trying to remain alive while others in trauma sadly take their lives or become lost to drugs and alcohol. He spoke of not knowing what happened during these times helped to protect me from the past and I should not be too hard on myself. I asked how do I forgive or ask for forgiveness for what may have happened without memory. He said I need to look to Arendt and Nietzche who believed forgiveness is an act that allows one to break the need for revenge because it is an act of memory that creates a new beginning. Without memory can one have forgiveness? Nietzche argues forgiveness is based on animal forgetfulness whereas Arendt links it to human memory and cannot be linked to Nietzche’s view of animal forgetfulness. He did not answer and left it to me to contemplate. I have not been able to fully grasp his thoughts. It has been many years since I read any of the works of the philosophers.

We talked about shame and how it effects ones’ life. Shame he said is emotional pain and for many shame is mitigated through self-medication. He said I should look to Isaiah’s prophesy in understanding how the acts inflicted complemented the shame I held to unravel my life. He said it was not the shame alone but how I hid it. He said once I understood his prophesy I would realize there may be others I needed to forgive and what I needed to do. He said Christ endured shame and mockery as he walked to the cross. How did he bear the shame? I had no clue who Isaiah was or his prophecies. He said I should explore and reflect. It was like he had given me homework after all these years. The next day I searched and now I believe I understand what he was saying and what I need to do. I guess if he had told me instead of having me read and reflect, the meaning would have been lost. This meeting may have awoken memories of a religion that surrounded me for so many years.

He welcomed me and said anytime I wanted to talk to contact him. He said all he can do is listen and try to understand. I liked his used of the word try—it acknowledges he can never truly understand the depth of the pain. As we were leaving he reminded us of Curia Personalis—care for the whole person, the mind, body and spirit.

The day left me with much to absorb and think about. I realize there is a consistent message I hear from my therapist, support groups and even the diocese about the abuse, healing and trauma. For those that study and work with trauma it seems so simple what we need to do, but the emotional and psychological damage the abuse leaves us with becomes our obstacles in healing. I believe the more I hear the same thing over and over, from people who make me feel safe, the closer I am to accepting my past and the abuse and allow me forgive others and allow others to forgive me.

It is ironic, members of the clergy and the church have been healing agents. The institution that was responsible for what happened have given support that is helping me to heal. Maybe one day I will return to the church, but that is just another one of the many steps I have to take in this arduous healing process.



Top
#449630 - 10/09/13 05:28 AM Re: New Beginnings How Many Steps to Heal? [Re: KMCINVA]
Onesimus75 Offline


Registered: 08/22/13
Posts: 158
Loc: Minnesota
They say that the one thing a con man has to be afraid of is the genuine article.

I think perps who hide in the clergy are con men, because if they lived what they said they'd never hurt kids.

But that doesn't mean that the genuine article doesn't exist. I'm so glad to hear that you ran into the real deal. I'm so very encouraged to hear that it helped.

darn it. i'm actually crying for you now. I'm way too butch of a homosexual dude to like crying like this. But this is so awesome that I guess I'll make an exception.

thank you for sharing.

To answer the question, how many steps to heal?
I won't give an number, but I think the answer is
One.
Then one.
Then one.
In martial arts we have the saying that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

You obviously have come many miles over the years. Just take one.

You give me hope, man!
_________________________
We are not defined by our faults, or our wounds, but by the truth within us, which nothing can take away.

Top
#449635 - 10/09/13 07:33 AM Re: New Beginnings How Many Steps to Heal? [Re: KMCINVA]
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3513
Loc: somewhere in Africa
K -

All I can say is - WOW! I am awed by this account. You have come so far. Proud of you! And so thankful for every step - no matter how many there are.

Lee
_________________________
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


Top
#449645 - 10/09/13 09:13 AM Re: New Beginnings How Many Steps to Heal? [Re: KMCINVA]
KMCINVA Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1782
Thank you. I have found in general the Jesuits to be more progressive and concerned with human dignity (they too have issues with the abuse scandal). They are more liberal on social issues and always encourage give back to society. Many are well read and can apply the intellectual to the real world. His questions have given me thought aand may prove beneficial on the journe y. To be reminded to care for the whole person-mind, body and spirit-we need to heal the mind and spirit on our journey.

Top
#449646 - 10/09/13 09:26 AM Re: New Beginnings How Many Steps to Heal? [Re: KMCINVA]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 2024
Loc: durham, north england
K this is awsome, and it's fantastic to hear you had such an amazing experience.

Places we found spiritual significance can be quite healing, but also frightening to visit, even before you get onto all your perfectly justified feelings about the Church.

This is fantastic, ---- although I do have to say I personally disagree on interpretation of Nietzsche, since all I've read of his philosophy (and I've read a fair amount), tells me that he was actually quite an evil man who glorified domination of others and hated all compassion as weakness, albeit the man could write a good poem! laugh.

For philosophers and faith and forgiveness, I'd highly recommend Kierkegaard myself, especially "fear and trembling" which is probably the best exploration of the contradictory journey of faith I know, although I confess this is something I've rather failed at myself.

Luke.

Top
#449657 - 10/09/13 10:59 AM Re: New Beginnings How Many Steps to Heal? [Re: KMCINVA]
KMCINVA Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1782
As I said I was having troubling grasping the words of Nietzche and Arendt. Nietzche with Beyond Good and Evil as well as the Death of God has my mind reeling as to the hidden message. Nietzche also speaks of forgiveness and resentment. He also speaks of one's ability to forgive others for the evil they did him but cannot forgive for the damage the offender did themselves. I believe somewhere in the messages is I need to forgive others for what they have done and only they can forgive themselves for the offenses they did to others. And I can only forgive myself for what I may have done. It seems simple but when I try to understand memory and forgetfulness the message becomes cloudy. I may be over complicating the words and when I turn to Arendt it becomes clearer. Roll in Kierkegaard, Hegel and others the concepts become conflicting.

I will continue to pursue, possibly it was his way for me to explore my inner being and capacity to forgive,to evaluate my own faith within the context of religion and my ability to discern good and evil.

As I read, it seems there is much contempt amongst the philosophers as to their views on many issues--but each is thought provoking and allows me to draw conclusion as to what is right for me. I can see how you see Nietzche but some of his words and writings draw me to his thoughts on forgiveness and other times I cannot comprehend the disparity he creates on this thought.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Kevin

Top
#449659 - 10/09/13 11:03 AM Re: New Beginnings How Many Steps to Heal? [Re: KMCINVA]
Jude Offline


Registered: 08/09/12
Posts: 1600
Loc: New England
Hey KMCINVA,

I love stories like this. I think it was no accident that you crossed paths with this Jesuit gentleman. Sometimes God arranges things to bring healing, even when we are not seeking it. Perhaps this man was a messenger of God, come to validate your experience, show you what progress you've made, and show that God does in fact LOVE YOU, despite what was done to you. Let that sink in man, its awesome.

Jude
_________________________
Seems I've got to have a change of scene
Every night I have the strangest dreams
Imprisoned by the way it could have been
Left here on my own or so it seems
I've got to leave before I start to scream
Joe Cocker

Top
#449762 - 10/10/13 11:33 AM Re: New Beginnings How Many Steps to Heal? [Re: KMCINVA]
KMCINVA Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1782
Jude

I appreciate your support. I am still grappling with God--why did He allow it to happen in a church which was suppose to be sacred--His place. I was angry and despised the church for so long. Before the memories erupted and everything I buried about the abuse, I was faithful and friends with the church and clergy. After the eruption of the memories--fears and despair of the church overtook. But recently, the priest who I met when my Mom passed and helped me face the physical church where the abuse occurred and her funeral was held, helped me to begin the process of realizing not all priests are bad. He too is a messenger of God, quite different the messenger who abused me. The meetings with the diocese made me realize there are so compassionate people in the institution that promoted the abuse through reassignment of the the priests to different parishes and then denied the abuse, and now another clergy who was warm, friendly and insightful. I am beginning to separate the people, institution and even God. It is helping me to realize there is good and amongst them are a few bad seeds. It was hard for me to separate as I was spiraling downward from reliving the abuse and coming to terms with my past. But today I am in a better place.

I do hope to one day feel God's love, but it will take time. I do know I am on a good path. The Jesuit, gave insights and I find myself exploring and contemplating his thoughts on shame, forgiveness, and other aspects that are so ingrained from the abuse. Philosophers put a different spin on what many therapists try to tell us. Maybe the contemplative approach will be what brings greater resolution to the damage the abuse has done.

Thank you

Kevin

Top
#449809 - 10/10/13 11:19 PM Re: New Beginnings How Many Steps to Heal? [Re: KMCINVA]
Jude Offline


Registered: 08/09/12
Posts: 1600
Loc: New England
Hey KMCINVA,

I too still grapple with God. I've always believed, I just have been too pissed off to deal with Him. Why did He allow it to happen? I don't know. I've had to let that question go for now. But some day God and I are gonna sit down and have a LOOONG TALK about it.

What I do know, is that for every one fucking pedophile priest, scout leader, teacher, guidance counselor, coach, relative, or neighbor, there are at least a hundred decent people who care about kids and would do anything to protect them. I think we lose sight of the fact that the vast majority of people are NOT pedophiles. I'm glad that a few of them have reached into your life.

Be well,

Jude
_________________________
Seems I've got to have a change of scene
Every night I have the strangest dreams
Imprisoned by the way it could have been
Left here on my own or so it seems
I've got to leave before I start to scream
Joe Cocker

Top
#450166 - 10/14/13 09:42 PM Re: New Beginnings How Many Steps to Heal? [Re: KMCINVA]
KMCINVA Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1782
The journey to healing and resolving the past to allow me to live in the present and future continues. I have written of my coming to terms with the abuse and the past. As most of you know I have been working on acceptance of the abuse with the church and diocese. It began almost one year ago at the time of my Mom’s passing and I had to face the place of the abuse, the church where she was to be buried from. I made contact with the parish priest and it was a pivotal turning point in my healing. However, it was not without much inner turmoil, intensive flashbacks and nightmares and hospitalizations that ultimately pushed me to speaking with the diocese and an ultimate meeting. These talks and meeting led to validation of the abuse and the abuser. I was encouraged to file a formal grievance with the diocese and if I chose not to file to at least make an anonymous call to the police hotline to report the abuse. I was told it would put the abuser on a watch list to ensure he was not working with children. I have reported but believe I was not the first to report. These events occurred since October 2012 to September 2013.

I talked of my visit to the university, two weekend ago, I attended and met a Jesuit who left me to contemplate many issues relating to healing and CSA from forgiveness to shame and guilt. He also awakened a past part of me that found solace and peace in the church. But this was long before the memories of the past and abuse were forced into my life. It separated me from the church, me and who I was. I was lost and could not function. I found myself loosing time and where I was, but it was a time I try to put in perspective.

The meeting with the Jesuit made me think about if I would ever return to the church. Well on impulse this past Sunday it happened. I was with someone who has been there for me. She was getting ready to leave for Mass at the local parish. I said to her, I would like to go to the university chapel for Mass today. Her face showed every emotion from surprise to concern. I was asked if I was ready and I said I will never know until I tried. The response put me at ease because there was a thought of me and no comments why not go to the parish Mass or it is stupid I needed to go to the chapel. There was a concern for me feeling safe. It was a thirty minute walk, mostly silent. We got near the chapel, apprehension I was feeling. We went in and stood at the back. The Mass began, I could hear people speak the prayers and responses. I could not speak the words but they ran through my mind. I looked around, saw people engaged, others looking at their watches counting the minutes, children attentive and the young fidgeting and moving around. One young boy was trying to escape from the chairs, always caught. I thought if he made the break, maybe I would need to follow. The part of the Mass I dreaded the Gospel and the homily. I knew the words the priest spoke would determine how long I would remain in the church. The last words of the Gospel was your faith has allowed you to be well. The person in front turned and said to me your faith in yourself has allowed you to be well. I know this was not the intent of the Gospel but realized we need faith in ourselves to heal. I lacked this faith in myself for decades because of the abuse. His homily focused on the person and need to accept and not just tolerate others so they can be who they are. He also spoke of our need to help people heal from their past. There was nothing dogmatic but rather welcoming and open. I was spared one of my worse fears.

Communion came but I did not partake. I was not ready for this step-to be open and willing to accept communion. Maybe in the future. We left and I was glad to hear the church was not hit by lightning and I was still standing. We had a laugh.

We went to brunch and I reflected on where I had been for the past 7 plus years as the past took over and where I was today. I talked of the bad and good times. Sadly, the bad overwhelming outnumbered the good, but the positive is the good is now a significant part of my life. I remember the actions that began to raise the memories of the abuse. I remembered how they became more frequent and intense, and I unraveled and began to lose time and place. I reflected on people I met who stood by me including those on MS, my support groups and therapist. As I unraveled I could always vent to the supporters who would give support, a smile or a caring ear. I also sadly remembered the harassing and threatening text messages about me and my parents I received as I was facing the place of abuse to bury my Mom, the times being hospitalized and told no one could pick up because they were tired, to being abandoned, to hearing and reading medical reports that people around me denied the dissociative states, the in house actions, being ignored, and telling others what I may have done without telling of triggers and the abuse. I read medical reports that contained stories without mention of the abuse and stating I arranged the disappearances. I wish these were true but the doctors saw my state and the reports all had the same diagnosis—dissociative fugue. I know I would not have abandoned these people when in need and I was there when asked or not asked from everyday needs to bailing them out of difficult situations. The person with me said sometimes good people do bad things and bad people can do good things. I understood what she saying. It was said to me in one of my sessions, their actions resemble “gang mentality”, merely groups of people. The need to band together to protect a person or people from their actions regardless of the damage to others because it protects them from the truth, running from their actions, which sadly can destroy lives. I know I made mistakes but did my best. I also understand what I may have or not have done impacted their lives and actions. I cannot change what happened and I will always be sorry. I believe if I did not have supporters and people who cared I may not be here today. Thank you. I know I can only change my life and others need to reflect on their lives.

We talked about what was next for me. I just want to enjoy where I am. I do not want to force anything and will let life take its course. I may return to church but it will definitely be to a non-dogmatic environment. I do not want to hear of how the church was hurt by the victims of CSA nor their disregard for social issues that impact the lives and spirit of people. I have to admit I left the church with a sense of peace and tranquility.

This past Thursday my T and I met. We determined we could scale back on the sessions because of where I am today and the support I have found. I need to take a breather and will just allow to be what it is and enjoy people, the peace I have found and to be there for others on their healing journey.

Top
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >


Moderator:  ModTeam, TJ jeff 

I agree that my access and use of the MaleSurvivor discussion forums and chat room is subject to the terms of this Agreement. AND the sole discretion of MaleSurvivor.
I agree that my use of MaleSurvivor resources are AT-WILL, and that my posting privileges may be terminated at any time, and for any reason by MaleSurvivor.