the tao of jaklumen

the path of the sage must become the path of the hero


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I think I got gaslit, even if men are not typically gaslighted

This screenshot shows Ingrid Bergman being gas...

This screenshot shows Ingrid Bergman being gaslighted. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear readers: The standard trigger warning applies.  I’m trying to stay light on the details, but… I’m nauseated just thinking about them.  Please, take any precautions you need; I know many of you ask the same.

I thought I’d shared my story with this person.

Someone with a strong media voice.

And I don’t think I tweeted anything different from what I shared in my story.

But… I was assumed to be a MAN making a WOMEN’S issue my deal, and not allowing them to own it alone.

Never mind that I was upset that someone was tearing Cimmy a new asshole in the same conversation.  That was totally ignored, for some reason.

I got numerous excuses when I complained, privately.  This person said they had grown numb to such nuances, because of numerous hate mails flooding their inbox.

NO NO NO DAMN IT, I HAD NIGHTMARES ABOUT BEING RAPED.  ONLY WEEKS AGO.  LIKE BLOODY FUCKING HELL WOULD I WISH THAT ON SOMEONE, JUST BECAUSE THEY WERE SAYING SOMETHING I DISLIKED.

And I wasn’t disagreeing with what was said at all.  No way.  If they weren’t already a part of Cimmorene’s painful, horrifying experiences, they were experiences of a friend, or a churchmate, or someone else close to me.  Mostly women, yeah, but a number of men.

Raped? Oh yes.  Raped.  No, not the Anne Hathaway one… that was pretty creepy, though.  No, it was another one.  I was blindfolded.  Gang raped.  By men.  What the hell is in the garbage of my brain?  (No, that sort of gay porn isn’t my thing, if that was ever a possibility.)

I have moved past suicidal thoughts.

NO NO NO I’m not going to tell someone to kill themselves, when I dealt with that.  Someone in my parents’ congregation took his life only a week or so ago… incidentally, I didn’t that mention in my Suicide Prevention Day post.  But I hope you get the idea.  Of course, I was shamed once for not condemning a suicider as “selfish”.  I can’t.  I’d have to tell myself I was selfish… well, I already did.  Several times.

This is all I can write for now, dear readers.  I hope you understand.  No, I won’t name names.  I already feel bad just writing about it… because it feels like so much veiled aggression.  But I’m angry.  And afraid.

I was just trying to stick up for Cimmorene.  I had no idea I was being held in contempt, too.  No idea.


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A Survivor’s Journey: The Challenge of Triggers & the Media

Words are not coming easily to me right now.  This is a really difficult subject.  But I know it’s important, so I give you dear readers my thoughts on how media reporting can be very insensitive to abuse survivors, particularly for those still recovering from sexual abuse.

A change of topic

This week the topic for #CSAQT, #sexabusechat, and the Google Hangout on Air for Trauma Recovery University was going to be about procrastination.  That topic has been pushed back a week, and the topic now is “How to cope with news, the media and triggering stories”.

Image credit: gender-focus.com It’s WordPress content, which I think is always a bonus

(Given this acknowledgement, please note that trigger warnings start now.)

I panicked a bit at this abrupt change.  I perceived that the impetus for this change was that a number of people in the U.S.-based chat (#sexabusechat) were reeling from the news stories about Josh Duggar.  I think the article for him on Wikipedia summed it up best:

In May 2015 it became public that when Duggar was between the ages of 14 and 15 years old, he molested five girls, some of whom were his sisters.

I was reassured by Bobbi Parish that topic focus would remain neutral, and that discussion of specific news stories would be stopped, in order to avoid further triggers for participants.

Image credit: wizbangblog.com

Now, I have thoughts of my own in regards to patriarchial blowhards having their dirty laundry revealed, which I’ll get to later.  What triggered me very hard recently was news stories about women sexually assaulting teenage boys– the likes of Mary Kay LeTourneau, Debi LaFave, Linda Lusk, and Shelley Dufresne– and the media revisiting many of their lives, often with a perspective that I find whitewashed.

I also noted that many Twitter users in the UK, including those attending #CSAQT had their own news stories that they found re-traumatizing and difficult to swallow, including investigations of government officials and entertainment figures, including Jim Saville, Rolf Harris, and in particular of late, Greville Janner.

Please bear with me, dear readers.  It is a real challenge for me to articulate my feelings on so much of this, in a way that is not ugly or accusatory.  There are so many thoughts, feelings, and experiences I’ve had– many of them that actually shaped my understanding about my abuse, my recovery, and how so many friends and family around me experienced such as well; sometimes as victims, and sometimes as perpetrators.

Accusations and learning the real nature of rape

Cycle of DV, but it seems to apply here. Image credit: helpguide.org

.In early 1993, I was trying to piece myself back together.  I had been accused of raping my girlfriend at the time, by one of her roommates.  Now I knew that The Roommate was a survivor of incest, because The Girlfriend told me so.  She also had warned me that her roommate was convinced that I would rape her, and we were caught in a compromising position that The Roommate was certain was proof.  She demanded that The Girlfriend call police, which she did, although she didn’t press charges.  What did me in, so to speak, was that I trusted too many of my peers, trying to assuage my pain, and the rumor mill went into overdrive, which led to my church bishop at the school (this was an LDS-affiliated junior college) withdrawing his endorsement, and my ultimate expulsion.  The rumor mill had already been shaming me for my emerging sexuality with women; I have no idea if they were fully aware of my emerging sexuality with men.  (That would come two schools later.)

I didn’t understand everything The Girlfriend told me, but a lot of it started falling into place talking with my youngest sister.  One story she shared was about one of her friends.  She disapproved of her promiscuous choices, but she was sure much of it stemmed from the fact that her friends’ father had been molesting her friend, and that she therefore was confusing sexual activity with affection.  It dawned on me then that much of what The Girlfriend was telling me was indicative that her father had molested her, and I told my sister as much.  It certainly explained the attitudes she described about her father criticizing her clothing and her beauty– and that her roommates were accordingly protective of her.

Another story that my sister told me around the same time was that a friend of hers had been molested by her brother.  She was very upset because there was such a heavy emphasis on her friend “forgiving” her brother, and that said brother was being allowed to serve a mission for our church.  She very much felt that such a serious wrong had not been properly addressed.

At that time of my accusations, I felt that I was guilty.  This wasn’t the very first time I explored intimacy with a girl, but it was the first time it was explicitly sexual, including heavy petting.  But I was repressed enough that I didn’t really know how certain things worked.  At the time, I didn’t know what mutual masturbation was.  All I knew was, “If I have done this to her, why do I feel like I’m dying inside when she does it to me?”  Now, years later, my sister and I further discussed attitudes in our church culture.  She described to me an attitude of “boys just can’t help themselves”, with a heavy emphasis of vigilance handed to the girls.  I told her that I experienced heavy shame as a young man by contrast, that I was deeply shamed for my sexual curiosity.

Now I say I felt guilty because I believed The Roommate’s accusations.  About a year later in 1994, I started reaching out on the Internet, and shared my story with a rape survivor.  My worldview began to change when she told me I was definitely NOT guilty.

The darkness of child abuse

It was almost another 10 years before I really started coming to grips with my mother abusing me- the sexual abuse at age 6, and the many, many years of emotional abuse.

It would be well over a half decade before I realized even more implications.

Please note, dear readers, that the next part I talk about I describe sparsely, because it’s not my story to tell.  But I can certainly empathize a bit with my UK friends.

A few years ago, one of my in-laws was investigated by the FBI, as child porn was discovered on their computer.  Please, dear readers, I ask that you suspend harsh judgment.  I’ve had to make some very hard decisions, along with my wife Cimmorene, on how photos of our children are to be shared on the Internet, and I feel that it has been harder, based on the implications of this issue.  I do not feel danger from this relative (I feel that they have addressed this to the extent that they do not pose a threat), but, I am concerned about other users.  I also have a very difficult time accepting nudity of young boys as art– I very firmly believe that even that should be avoided.  But I can’t force this relative not to view certain media; I can only make rules about photos of my children.  Please understand that I am much more concerned about the company of users said relative keeps, rather than the relative in particular.

I’ve written about fears of pedophilic predators threatening my family on the Internet before.  I won’t link to them at this time.

What bothers me about media portrayals

I think the common thread that I will eventually discuss with others in chat is that the media, as I said before, are not reporting matters of sexual abuse in a way that is sensitive to survivors.

For example, what bothered me about media stories concerning women like Mary Kay LeTourneau and Linda Lusk was that certain media outlets, in my opinion, were whitewashing their stories.  In particular, ABC News and the news show 20/20 revisited Mary Kay LeTourneau recently.  I, Bobbi, and others I know were very upset that Barbara Walters referred to the sexual abuse as “an affair”.

Bobbi summarized her thoughts in Mary Kay LeTourneau is Not a Lover, She’s a Rapist.  To summarize what I said in response (as it appeared on the Good Men Project):

MKLT presented her story as love, not rape.  So many years later, it almost seemed like Barbara Walters and 20/20 chose to believe that narrative– “See, she was right.  It was about love all along.”

But it’s still rape, although it would seem that that when women sexually assault men, their motives and perspective are rather different than that of male perpetrators.  Yet it’s still about power and control, not reciprocal intimacy.

And yes, I do feel like the media all too often serves it up like titillating porn.  There seems to be a double standard here.  If Mike LaFave is right– that women like his ex-wife Debi do it to reassure themselves of their youth and beauty– then the news stories reinforce that idea.  The stories that seem to get the most press show photos of female offenders with well-applied makeup and aesthetically good looks.  Sometimes, they are even smiling.

A selfie by Shelley Dufresne, allegedly from her Instagram account, and believed to be in response to her light court sentence. Probably not wise when under the spotlight of public opinion. Image credit: posture.doonks.com

The final analysis

But as I think really hard about it, one thing seems to be consistent.  Whether the media reports on men or women committing sexual crimes, they seem to reinforce old gender stereotypes.  The male perpetrators are handling the situation, and the female perpetrators are still young and beautiful.  If the male perpetrators are not handling the situation, well, they are old, and their mental health is failing.

For the news sites that still allow commenting, some of the worst stereotypes come out in the comments as well.  Such comments I remember on teacher sex crimes went something like this:

  • “The kid probably initiated it, not the teacher!”
  • “I doubt that boy feels victimized.  He likely feels lucky!”  (Usually, the news story said that that school officials became aware of the incident, because victims were ‘bragging’ to other students.)

Most comments I’ve seen generally don’t condone such ideas, but, I’ve seen at least a few perpetrate such prejudice.

I’m not sure what the ultimate solution is.  Hopefully, I will get some insight in the next couple of days, from chatmates and other Twitter friends.  I suspect that possible solutions will include setting limits and boundaries as to media consumption, and to strategically determine the best times, places, and circumstances to speak out.  It’s possible that some may say that the writing process is one way to do that, as well as a means of coping in healthy ways.

 


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Boundaries. Trust. To write love on my arms.

Trigger warning: I am about to write about subjects such as self-harm, self-mutilation, co-dependency, emotional enmeshment, and so on.  There will be at least one photo.  Please, please take care if such things upset you, especially if any of these are issues for you too, dear readers.

Looking back

Yes, I’m going to write about it, now.  Maybe some of you remember To write love on her arms (it’s a short post, so I have included most of it, as follows):

Two years ago, I learned that my daughter turned to cutting to deal with the crushing stress in her life.

She turned to it again two nights ago when Cimmorene lost it with Boy when he would not go to bed for several hours.  Cimmy let me know, because she knew I wouldn’t be angry– how could I?  I dealt with it myself.

I cut myself years ago when I was in a stressful romantic relationship that ended with false accusations of rape.  Cimmy wasn’t around then, but she was when I started cutting again, as the university we were attending was soaked in scandal, and the music department especially was mired in dirty politics between professors.  When she miscarried before our son was born… more cuts.

So all I could do was listen to my daughter, and tell her more about my struggles with this issue.

The problem at hand

Yep, I’m having problems again.  If I did this right, hopefully the photo doesn’t show immediately in my blog feed.  Here comes the photo:

This is what the inside of my left forearm looks like, although the cuts have faded a little bit.

This is what the inside of my left forearm looks like, although the cuts have faded a little bit.

Why?  Well, I won’t name names.  I don’t think that’d do any good.  But I got pretty angry and upset with some people.  About all I will say is that a few people were discussing something in one of my support groups, using language and descriptions that I found VERY triggering.  A great big push on the “But I’m a Good Boy!” button.

One of them is a co-founder of said group.  I didn’t trust my intuition when I met this person about a year or so ago, but BIG RED alarms and flags were going off in my mind.  This person did, said, and wrote things… whole books, even, that I find incredibly sexist.

I will leave it at that.  I hate being a sensitive person sometimes; or rather, I don’t like that I have a very difficult time filtering out other people’s bad vibes.  I’m still learning to set boundaries and put distance.  I had to end a few social activities because the hosts, or the participants, were just unpleasant, slightly anti-social folks.

Oh… yes, my daughter knows about the cuts.  We have an understanding, you see.  Not that we think it’s okay, but that we know why we do it.  sigh but just the other day, my father saw them.  I’m not ready to talk to him about it just yet.  I’m not sure he even knows this is a thing with me, even after all these years.

What I’m doing about it

I do have a therapist, now.  I haven’t met with her for a full session, yet; she came with my case manager to meet me in my home, and then I talked with her some more when I dropped by some background information.  She took a moment to show me around her office, get a sense of things so I could be comfortable.  I will meet with her towards the end of the month, but I will probably drop by now and then, so I might continue to collaborate, to prepare beforehand.

If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all

I’ve learned that the spouse of a fairly prominent WordPress blogger (who is also currently imprisoned), an ertswhile blogger in their own right, passed away earlier this week.

Despite the call for letters of support; I’m sorry, but I won’t be sending one.  I have a really, really difficult time with trust– trusting either full-on, or not at all, and my last interaction ended towards not at all.  I don’t consider myself a cruel, heartless individual, but when things were well, this person just didn’t seem to consider me worth the notice.  I understand things are quite bad, now, but, I’m struggling with my own problems, too.

Bloggers, even before this news, asked for letters to be sent.  I was sorely tempted to quietly send something scathing.  I must have been graced by the better part of wisdom, somehow, because I didn’t.  Now… I’m not able to do such a thing for the sake of social niceties.  This person didn’t really ever interact with me.  I think it would be disingenuous and insincere to try to pretend otherwise.

A final word

I’m not broadcasting blog posts to Twitter for now– I I was considering deactivating Twitter entirely, but I didn’t.  But… I’m not going to use it to promote my blog material for now.  shrug See for yourself, dear readers.  I appreciate all your comments, I truly do.  But you do see that they number about 3 to a half dozen, on average.  The art of SEO eludes me, and apparently, I’m not writing much that appeals to a wide variety of people.

But I realize that your interactions are genuine, and real.  And for that, I’m grateful.


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Compassion for the Bullied

So, a 1000 Voices for Compassion marches on.  I’m late as usual– the 20th was my wife Cimmorene’s (@wavemistress) birthday, and I simply did not have time, or rather, the energy, to line up a post that quickly.

I’m going to broach a more sensitive subject than just the idea of simply bullying.  It’s bullying of a sexual nature– better known as slut shaming.956ed-sexualabuse5

I don’t expect any of you dear readers to understand that it happened to me.  I don’t even expect any of you to understand that it can happen to men.  Not even Wikipedia editors seem to acknowledge such very much at all.  But if you figure you’ll do your best anyways, and consider yourselves sufficiently warned of possible triggers, than I invite you to read on.

The tough stuff starts here

Work In Progress v. 2I’ve been busier on Twitter lately, because, to be quite blunt, I have a support network there, and they haven’t recoiled in horror when I’ve shared my story, the way some bloggers have.  They’ve lived the grit and the shit of childhood sexual abuse, and although I’d say a lot of them have had it far worse than I did, they welcome me regardless.  Because of the great stigma men face with this issue, I am overwhelmingly outnumbered by women, but there are a few men, and a few amongst that small section that are quite actively championing the cause of survivorship and trauma recovery.

A supportive Twitter chat friend introduces me to the UnSlut Project

http://unslutproject.tumblr.com/press

Image credit: Emily Lindin and The UnSlut Project, by way of Tumblr. Link image for source

If you’re not familiar with the UnSlut Project, I invite you to go check out the website really quick, and then come back here.  I think the context is important.

A friend from #sexabusechat (Stewart- @gottogetoutof) does all he can to get word out about resources for sexual abuse survivors.  One day he retweeted some Tweets from Emily Lindin and the UnSlut Project.  I was intrigued and decided to check it out.

Once I learned what the issue was about, I felt an impression that I should share my story.  I was reluctant to at first; much like a lot of domestic violence and abuse in general, the issue has been framed as women as the targets/victims, and men as the aggressors/abusers.  Even if men are targeted– fairly rarely is it said that a woman perpetrated the abuse.  Then I got a DM from Emily asking for financial support (since part of the project is a documentary film).  I thought the message was automated at first, but she very sweetly and congenially reassured me that it wasn’t.  I asked her if I might share my story, and she enthusiastically agreed.

My sexual bullying story starts here

I tried to keep things short.  I’m prone to tangents and ramblings.  I didn’t talk about all the instances that women were quite cruel to me in a sexual way.  But I will simply add that I was always bothered– whether it was in childhood or as an adult, in college.  One story is just too embarrassing to share so openly, right now.  So here’s the message I sent to the site, in (most) of its ugly glory:

Dear Emily,

I’m writing with the hopes that when people read my story, they realize that this is not a gender-based issue. It’s not an issue where only men are the aggressors, and women are the targets. Sexual bullying and slut shaming can happen to anyone.

During the middle of my college/university experience a little over twenty years ago, I somehow caught the attention of a sorority girl in one of my classes at a small private college. I was still socially awkward at that time, and her rather energetic nature and interest made me a little nervous. I blurted out, “don’t have an orgasm, now!” after a nerve-wracking conversation one day, which I realize now was totally inappropriate.

But I was totally unprepared for the onslaught of revenge from her sorority sisters. I was harassed repeatedly by e-mail, telephone, and even in person. This continued even when the campus police got involved. It didn’t stop until I left the school.

Thankfully, that experience didn’t follow me to university, but, I remember walking across the street when a convertible pulled up and a young woman leaned out and said, “Yeah, baby. Shake it!” For some reason, that triggered memories of being mercilessly teased in middle school by boys that thought I wiggled my buttocks too much when I walked. Even though I doubt her comment was homophobic like theirs were, I still felt like an objectified piece of meat.

I know that men in our society are encouraged to welcome sexual attention. Yet how can it be welcomed when it’s unwanted and degrading? I think most guys know the difference, and no amount of swagger (or retaliatory insult) covers up the hurt. It’s not cool, and it’s not “studly”. It’s abusive.

A quick thanks to my friends at the No More Shame Project/Trauma Recovery University, who’ve given me courage to heal from childhood abuse, including sexual abuse. Survivors can be vulnerable to this sort of bullying. Please use my real name; I’ve come far enough that I don’t need to be ashamed anymore.

Jonathan/”jaklumen”

I don’t think the story has been added to the site, yet.  I can say it’s a rare one– most of the stories are from women, and one gay guy last I checked.  It frustrates me that society filters this issue by way of gender and sexuality.  Granted, I’m actually bisexual by way of orientation, but, I still don’t think that it directly has anything to do with it– women are capable of sexually bullying a man, just as they are capable of raping a man.  Attitudes and definitions may not have caught up, but, that’s my experience.

Some final thoughts

I don’t expect you to understand, or agree, right way.  I do not expect accolades to my bravery or courage in speaking out.  I do not expect many comments on this post, at all, even negative ones, although I fear someone will come along and reply with smack talk.  I’m not looking for praise, high regards, or any of that.

I’m simply tired of the bullshit and the lagging attitudes, so I’m saying my truth.  It is what it is.

See also Compassion for the Sensitive

 


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The Analogy of the Splinter

as seen at the #NoMoreShame Project, but with added images and captions

I like to think of my recovery like removing a splinter, or a thorn.  A few years ago, my wife and I had to remove a splinter of a ice pop stick from under our daughter’s toe.  We had to hold her down, because it hurt so bad and it was wedged so far in.  But after we got it out, she hugged us, saying “Thank you, thank you” over and over.

The only difference I would point out, however, is that the splinters of my abuse have been numerous and many over a long period of time.  Still, they have to come out, or I feel they’ll continue to give me pain.

I was six when my innocence was brutally crushed.  My parents thought that it was a good idea to educate me about sex by showing their nakedness to me, each in turn, during shower time.  Whole heaps of sexuality was just dumped into my lap and I had no understanding what any of it meant.  My father didn’t do or say much, but my mother decided to point out her body parts more directly to me. I didn’t understand why my hand was getting slapped; I had no comprehension about why those parts were related to sex.

Of course, I never understood the emotional abuse, either, why she grew so cold, so critical, so unrelentingly negative. My father simply beat me.  While I was terrified of my father during those early years, interacting with my mother was more like a slow burn– I remember her being warm and comforting, but now I was being stung and demolished inside.

I had no voice.  I’ve always loved periodicals, so I remember reading a public service ad about emotional abuse.  It pointed out that some scars weren’t visible, and showed a young girl with a haunting look in her eyes.  I looked into them and saw myself, but I was too terrified to say anything to anyone.  Who would believe me?

Child abuse verbal abuse hurts too photo f_5adce75f99c5.jpg

This isn’t the ad I was referring to, but this is all I could find.

I felt so vulnerable.  I was teased and picked on in school, especially when I moved away with my family from a small farming community to an larger town.  Middle school– that time that kids experience puberty– was pure hellfire.  Some of my secondary school teachers in middle and high school suspected something was wrong, but I had no idea why I was talking with other students that dealt with alcohol and drug abuse.  I did start to feel suicidal, however.

A bitter image, but this is actually how I half-heartedly attempted suicide in the 8th grade.

Not only did I have a poor grasp of social boundaries, I had no idea how to cope with all the sexuality I’d been exposed to in childhood.  I got hooked on porn pretty quick.  Romantic relationships were terrifying.  It seemed like I got in over my head physically and I couldn’t say no– it was too easy to just let the other person decide the level of intimacy.  I was accused of rape my freshman year of college by a roommate of a girl I was dating at the time– the first time I’d been in a serious relationship.  Not all relationships were romantic, either– some were just about sex, with men as well as women.  I always got way more than I bargained for.  I didn’t feel lucky.  I felt out of control.

No surprise that the woman I married had issues with childhood abuse, too, but she was a lot more patient and caring than so many others I’d been with.  Now, I had to shoulder the pain she was feeling, but she helped me pick through the pieces.  She stuck with me even when I was revictimized again a few times– being stalked, harrassed, and otherwise virtually assaulted in a sexual way online.

I thought it couldn’t happen to me, but a young woman engaged to be married decided I was some easy sexual thrills.

It’s been SO hard to come forward.  I think it’s harder for guys.  No one shames a Daddy’s girl, but “Momma’s Boy” is definitely an insult to men.  Sometimes, when I shared my story, people understood.  Other times– they were terrified.  It’s been really difficult to find a safe place to talk and be completely understood, so I am very grateful to come to the No More Shame Project and be able to speak freely.

Just like the splinter, it has to all come out.  And with the help of some marvelous people here, I’m getting closer.

 

 

 

 


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TToT: Seizing the Sword of Trauma and a path to healing

I’ve shared this video before as a mashup, but I’m showing it again because I think the juxtaposition is important– the One Ring of Sauron is compared to the Autobot Matrix of Leadership.  On the one hand, Tolkien presents an artifact that is wrought of evil, and that will enslave all life in Middle Earth if it is not cast back from whence it came.  On the other hand, the Autobot Matrix is presented as a mantle of leadership, that when unlocked, “will light our darkest hour.”

How can this be?

I take inspiration from Angela Shelton, who compares trauma to a virtual sword, but through the process of healing, can be drawn out as strength and protection.

Image credit: angelashelton.com from “Be Your Own Hero: Healing Workbook” by Angela Shelton, with illustrations by James Murray

Her first workbook was aimed at women, but she found that men needed a resource, too.

Ever since I started speaking out about child sexual abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault, I’ve heard from male survivors right in line with the females.

That goes for perpetrators too. Males are not the only ones who harm adults and children. Women are perpetrators too, in sexual abuse and domestic violence. They can be very sick and twisted too!

Victims of abuse are just that – victims. Luckily, the ones I hear from are the victims who become survivors and then move from surviving to thriving.

Abuse is not a “Women’s Issue” it’s a People Problem!

YES!  Someone who gets it!

It’s not been easy, and it’s been terribly lonely.  Let me tell you again, dear readers:

The reason why I started blogging 10 years ago was so I could face the pain of the abuse my mother heaped on me as a child, and to deal with all the fallout that caused.

I wish I could say I found the answers sooner, but it has been a long, slow process.  It took me years just to figure out (and quite all by myself, unfortunately) why I was so angry.  It took me many years more to learn that what my mother did was NOT acceptable– people I realized I could trust told me so.

I am getting some wonderful help from some marvelous women I met on Twitter: Rachel Thompson, Bobbi Parish, and Athena Moberg.  I can’t remember all how it unfolded, but I found out about some wonderful resources they created and coordinate, and… wow.  I’ve been learning more things, more effective information, then I have ever learned so far in over 30 years of counseling/therapy.

Specifically, I started participating in a Twitter chat called #SexAbuseChat, which is a support chat for survivors of sexual abuse.  Then I was informed Athena and Bobbi were starting a Google Hangout for the No More Shame Project– a live stream of them discussing subjects from the chat.

Well, I said then some things I’ve said now– and I was deeply honored that Athena gave me a shoutout twice for it… but I want you to know, dear readers, that I don’t write this to brag, but just that I am SO grateful.  I was grateful to be receiving resources that FINALLY were helpful and useful– even if some of it were confirmations that I was doing some things right!  I am grateful to have my expressions of gratitude acknowledged, and to be one small example that the resources are doing good, and that they work.

Image credit: Athena Moberg and the No More Shame Project. One of the things these ladies really helped me to understand was how I was recycling through old cycles of trauma with triggers of new trauma, but more importantly, how I could begin to manage that cycle, to avoid and lessen that response. It fit very well with my other work in recovery.

A request, dear readers… please, I ask for your support.  I assure you that also I am starting to speak up, more men are silent.  I can think of at least one person who has said very little that I am aware of, and I won’t say who it is because, well, it was said in confidence, and it’s not my story to tell.

Will you support me, dear readers?  Will you support the wounded men in your lives, so that they may have peace, and stand for peace?  How will you spread the word?  Do you agree that abuse is not just a women’s issue, but a danger to all people, regardless of gender?