For Sexually Abused Men, Healing Comes in the Telling
- Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Christian Newswire -- Writer/actor/producer Tyler Perry spoke about his childhood physical and sexual abuse in front of millions of Oprah viewers on October 21. He shared his story in an effort to liberate himself emotionally. On November 5, 200 male survivors will give voice to the issue of their abuse.
Physical and sexual abuse survivor and veteran author Cecil Murphey agrees that healing comes in the telling. But for every man who opens up about his abuse, millions of others wrestle with shame and the emotional bondage that keeps them quiet. What does it take for abused men to shatter the silence of the torment that has held them captive to their past? How can a friend or loved one help a survivor through the recovery process?
Tyler Perry told Oprah that as a child his unrelenting abuse made it nearly impossible for him to trust adults. Cecil Murphey says, "That's normal and most of us carry distrust of people into adulthood." Murphey said it wasn't until he was shown unconditional love by his wife and a good friend that he was able to open up about his childhood trauma. Once he opened up, he was on his way to recovery.
Cecil Murphey offers the following suggestions to help a man you care about move through his recovery.
1. Be honest about your feelings. Don't lie or hide how you feel.
2. Be a reflective listener. That is, pay attention and accept his thoughts and feelings.
3. Seek eye contact. Look at him as he talks.
4. Suggest regular times to talk. He might not know what he wants to say, or be unwilling to divulge more. As he speaks and you accept his words, it enables him to probe deeper into his past. As he probes, he heals.
5. Accept him as he is. He won't be perfect at the end of his healing journey.
6. Recognize that healing won't be in a straight line. After months of progress and increasing intimacy, he may suddenly reject you or create distance. If that happens, be patient. Think of it as time-out for him.
7. When appropriate, remind him that you love him, that you pray for him, and that God created him loveable.
8. Accept the pace of his progress. This is his painful past, not yours.
9. Avoid blaming him for problems in your relationship. His behavior was probably the best way he knew to cope.
10. Encourage him to empty himself of the trauma of his childhood and let go of resentments and anger of the past.
Cecil Murphey is the author of When a Man You Love Was Abused (Kregel, 2010), as well as 119 other books, including the New York Times bestseller 90 Minutes in Heaven (with Don Piper) and Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story (with Dr. Ben Carson). His blog for male survivors can be found at www.menshatteringthesilence.blogspot.com. For more information about Cecil Murphey, visit www.cecilmurphey.com.
You can read or sign up for email delivery of Cec's weekly devotional "Invading the Privacy of God" through Crosswalk.com.
Publication date: October 26, 2010
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