Hi TJP,

As survivors we sometimes go through a huge shift of emotions and feelings, especially in the beginning.

The first time we say "I was sexually abused" can be terrifying and liberating at the same time. It is a secret many of us have held for years before disclosing it to anyone. After saying it, the feeling of freedom or liberation from that secret can be such that we feel like screaming it from the roof tops.

But I urge caution.

Know your audience. Before telling people, think about how they may react to the information.

I do NOT say this because I want you to feel shame.

I say this because I want you to be safe in whom you tell.

You do not, especially in the beginning when you are very raw with emotion, need to indiscriminately tell people who may react in ways that are harmful to you.

The fact you fear that telling your family may result in them reiterating the myth about the abused becoming abusers, suggests that telling them at this point in time may not be in your best interest. This is not to say you will never disclose this to them, but right now may not be the time.

Look at the reactions of both your wife and your mother - their first inclination was to ask you if you were also an abuser. You do not need to hear that, especially from those closest to you. Though those who ask that question may not intend to be harmful, that is exactly what it is. It also shows their lack of information about males who have been sexually abused. You do not need to be fighting against the most damaging myth (or any of the myths) at the same time you are starting to acknowledge to yourself that you were abused. Letting yourself realize and, perhaps, accept that you were abused and that you were not at fault is extremely difficult and painful. You are challenging your own long-held beliefs. You do not need the extra burden of educating those who have distorted, entrenched and harmful views regarding the sexual abuse of males.

This journey of healing is difficult enough without having the extra burden of having to educate people about sexual abuse and debunking the myths. You will face those challenges. In fact, you have already started to face them. You have been confronted with the most harmful myth, and it has caused you to feel hurt and misunderstood. Most of all, it has caused you to be afraid - afraid others will blame you for doing things that you have not, and would never, do.

For now, try to take as much stress off yourself as possible. Consider discussing these issues with someone safe, like a therapist. Bring people into your life who will be able to support you.

There is plenty of time to tell family and friends. There are books written for partners and supporters of sexually abused males. The books written for those who have been sexually abused are also helpful to family and friends, though the information they contain can often be more raw and graphic than in the books written for partners and supporters.

Whom you tell, when you tell or IF you tell are decisions to be made, but they do not have to be made right now. Some of the most important things to do right now are to take care of yourself, physically and emotionally. Create a support network. In coming here you have added over 10,000 people to your life who "get it" and who are willing to be supportive. Though embarking on this journey we call healing can feel like "crazy making," take time to do things which have nothing to do with healing. Spend time with family and friends and do things that are enjoyable, even if you have to force yourself to interact at times. Find humor in life and especially in healing.

Wax your surfboard and get ready to ride the waves. It's going to get gnarly.




Anomalous
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Acceptance on someone else's terms is worse than rejection.