Thursday, 20 December 2012

I'm taking a break...

Well, folks - I'm off on a much-needed holiday for the rest of the year. 2012 was one of the most exhausting years of my life and I'm looking forward to spending what is left of it with my two girls, far away from civilisation and hopefully also far away from triggers, and to coming back rejuvenated and filled with renewed energy to fight this fight we call "recovery".

I will pick up posting again in January.

I will leave you with this thought - after all the struggles and triumphs that is life, the only thing that really matters is the love of friends and family. Without those relationships, our lives are empty. So hug the ones you love and tell them that you do. Use this festive season to spend time with them and remember why you treasure them.

Au revoir. See you next year (unless the world ends tomorrow).

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

About guilt, shame and innocence

A lot has been written about the guilt and shame that abuse survivors suffer from, especially male survivors of sexual abuse. Often, even after we've come to reject that stigmas that society clouds us with, it is still near impossible to shake feelings of guilt and shame.

What I've realised in the past few weeks, is that the guilt is a crutch in itself. A dysfunctional crutch, yes, but a crutch no less. It's all about control.

When a child is abused, there an overwhelming feeling of helplessness. The perpetrator is bigger and stronger, even if only mentally, and he overpowers the victim and forces him to do things that violate his very being. The victim is powerless to resist. Even adult victims of sexual assault reports an overwhelming feeling of helplessness and of loosing control of their bodies. When the victim is a small child and the perpetrator is someone who is already in a position of authority, the power balance is skewed even before the abuse occurs. Afterwards, should the victim speak out, it is often only to discover that no one believes him, or worse - that no one is prepared to help him. This adds another load to the weight of helplessness that the victim is already carrying around.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Thank you for loving me...

As we approach the end of the year, I want to dedicate this song to everyone who has loved and supported me through the last year, especially my girlfriend, as well as all the supporters of abuse survivors out there.

Thank you. I'll let Jon say the rest, because he says it so much better than I ever can.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Things I have learned in 2012

2012 was a year of many lessons. Here are some of the lessons I learned:

  • Chewing gum cannot be removed from hair. You have to cut it out.
  • Earthworms can be pets.
  • It's fun to put pet-earthworms to work in a worm-farm.
  • I-messages are wonderfully effective.
  • So is active listening.
  • So is EMDR.
  • It is ok to be vulnerable sometimes, even for men. Even for dads.
  • In life, you have to gamble sometimes. Perhaps you will win, perhaps not. But if you don't try, you lose anyway.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

To the boy in the picture...

Yesterday, for the first time in perhaps my entire life, I looked at a photo of myself, age 15. It was an incredibly emotional experience. Last night, in an effort to understand the emotions this experience evoked, I wrote this:

To the boy in the picture,

This morning, for possibly the first time ever, I looked into your eyes.

What I saw there ripped off a giant scab and left my soul bleeding a river of pain. It shocked, saddened and angered me.

Relax, don't be afraid!

This time, I'm not angry at you. I'm angry at all the people who had looked into those eyes before me and saw nothing wrong. I am furious at the the people who saw the hurt in your eyes and turned their backs, deciding that it would be too much effort to determine the cause of your suffering and do something about it.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

I think I finally know what parenting is about

I had an epiphany today, about what the priorities of a parent should be.

For the last week or so, I've been on a quest to hunt down photos of myself from the period in which I was abused (age 4-16). My first port of call was my family members, but none of them have any photos from that period in their possession. I finally managed to ascertain that my old school still have copies of year books that should contain photos of me. I will go look at them tomorrow.

While I was dealing with this, an old friend asked me to send her a recent photo of my daughter. I started up my laptop last night, but I couldn't get past the long list of folders containing hundreds of photos of my daughter. The contrast was too much to bear. Sitting there, staring at the screen with tears running down my face, I saw the photos as a metaphor for a parent's love.

No one ever cared enough to want to preserve memories of my childhood.

No one ever loved me like I love my daughter.