- Make a list of reasons for living. It may seem difficult but write down anything that comes to mind. Survivors often come up with many reasons for living like;
- I won’t let the abuser win
- I want to be here with my friends/family/lover
- If I can stick with it the pain will get less
- Try to imagine a future where the pain has reduced. Again this is hard to do if you feel down. Try to imagine what life will be like in a month’s time, a year’s time, three year’s time, all the time with you recovering from the effects of the abuse, the pain reducing, and you getting more of what you want from life.
- If you’re in therapy, counselling, or a support group try to make a plan with them about what you’ll do between sessions and make a commitment to come to the next session.
- If you’re in the process of exploring your abuse in therapy, counselling, or a group, decide whether you need to take a break and concentrate on just staying safe. Some people might feel they can push through the pain – others might need to take a break.
Finally, remember that you deserve to live.
KEEPING YOURSELF SAFE
There are many aspects to keeping yourself safe. One is taking care of your body and not hurting yourself. Men who’ve suffered sexual abuse as boys sometimes hurt themselves by:
- Cutting themselves
- Burning themselves
- Getting involved in fights
- Abusing alcohol or drugs (if this applies to you see, ‘Finding your way through addiction.’)
- Getting themselves in dangerous situations (e.g. where they’re likely to be assaulted)
- Taking risks with their physical safety (e.g. driving whilst drunk)
- Getting involved with people who abuse or assault them.
There are many reasons why men take it out on their own bodies or put themselves in situations where they might get hurt :
- As a boy you may have been constantly scared. Fear like that can affect the way the body works, making it hard to relax and calm down. This can get carried through into manhood. Hurting yourself may become a way to get relief and calm down.
- If all you’ve ever know is pain and hurt, then you grow up expecting it. When it’s not there you may create it yourself – almost like an addiction. Hurting yourself is a type of self-preservation. As a boy you had no control over the abuse – but if you inflict pain on your own body now, there may be a sense that you can control the amount of it.
- Your abuser may have tried to brainwash you into thinking that your body deserved to be hurt.
- You may hurt so much inside that there seems just no way to express it. Hurting your body is a way of saying just how bad you feel.