I’m part of an adult male sexual survivors group that frequently shares the stories of their childhood sexual abuse, the hurts that the abuse has caused, and the general day-to-day life of being a survivor. It hurts every time I hear the stories of our abuse! No matter how many times I’ve heard the survivor’s story, I feel a tightening in my chest. When a new member shares their own story, I have to hold back the tears every time.
Yet, I’ve learned that no matter how deep the hurt, the intensity of the abuse, or the duration of the anguish, our trauma puts us on a level playing field. Many in our group feel that their trauma isn’t as bad as another person’s in the group. However, I disagree with that sentiment. It wasn’t easy coming to this revelation because I think it is natural for humans to rate and qualify every experience. On the contrary, though, this type of thinking is very detrimental to our recovery.
I believe that there are many survivors out there who have experienced great hurt but have failed to comprehend its significance. This could be because someone in their lives has attempted to normalize the abuse or the survivor might just feel that it’s no big deal.
I want to encourage everyone who has not shared their story to tell someone. Every experience matters and every hurt is worth recovering from. For some reason, burying pain only feeds it and makes it stronger. Talking and sharing with one another about the struggles of your past sexual abuse is one of the best antidotes to our hurts.