Urchfont day one
I finally persuaded myself to drive up to the manor house, on time, but filled with apprehension. I have avoided group therapy sessions until now.
I believe I have resolved most of my anger, with regards what happened to me anyway. What remains of my anger has turned into a fierce protectiveness over others who have suffered.
Whilst I have been able to turn my anger around, release it, and use it as a shield, I remain angry with myself. Not for having been abused, tortured and raped, but for having been weak enough to not make the right decisions over my life.
Have I screwed up so much because I felt unworthy of a good life, was I punishing myself for not having fought back, or am I acting out the pain and humiliation and turning it on myself? I don't know.
In total I have "received" over 25 months of NHS therapy. Other than now accepting that I was a victim, an unwilling participant and in no way encouraged any of the things that happened to me, that therapy has done nothing to improve the image I have of myself in my head. The image of being worthless, unwelcome, ugly, useless and a serial failure, and feeling totally alone in my suffering.
I still find it difficult trusting anyone, or I trust too much much too fast. I feel unworthy of love, yet yearn for the love I have denied myself. I make friends rarely, but hate being so isolated and alone.
I find it easy to put words down on paper or computer, but it is a struggle to vocalise. This probably stems from being told to shut up as a child. In my family children were to be seen and NOT heard.
I am sharing this weekend with twenty something men who have all endured abuse. I want arms big enough to protect them all, but I also want them to protect me. I want to feel as if I do actually belong, as if I do deserve a happy life, that I am allowed to be, and loved as just myself.
I almost feel as if I fit in here, hopefully by tomorrow night I can say I do fit in, I do belong and I do deserve to be happy. I just feel uncertain about speaking out or voicing an opinion.
I feel my life is slipping away, out of control, and I can do absolutely nothing to stop it.
I want to belong. I want to live. I am scared yet want to protect. I want to be held, to hold, to be embraced and to embrace. I want to be me, let me be me. I need to cry, to cry for the right reasons. I have never mourned the death of innocence of the little boy I once was. I just survived by whatever means I could. Life shouldn't be about surviving or enduring surely? Life should be for living and enjoying. I hear happy voices of men outside, having returned from the pub. I didn't go, didn't feel I could fit in, yet wanting to, so so wanting to. Maybe tomorrow night, maybe.
Maybe one day someone will love and want me for who and what I am, not for what and who I apparently should be. I am just me, love me for what I am, not for what you want me to be.
How do I ask for help? How do I get over the overwhelming fear of rejection?
How do I live?
Shit, shit shit, shit.SHIT.
To put today into a nutshell, I would have to quote a Michael Jackson song......You are not alone.
The most significant feeling, emotion, impression and insight I will take away from here is I am not the only man who feels like I do.
I am not an effin freak, but the 6 men and 2 women who were THE abusers were freaks.
I also discovered today I hadn't dealt with my anger quite as well as I thought. A part of the weekend is letting go of anger and expressing. Well I whacked seven types if crap out of the punchbag provided...... I felt much better fir it, a weight lifted off my shoulders.
Another strong emotion I am experiencing is empathy. I don't only feel my pain, confusion, disgust and anger, but I feel and am experiencing that of my fellow weekenders too. I don't normally cry over real life issues. Some films or tv programmes can make me cry. Not really crying, but water running silently down my face. I almost cried today, I had wet eyes, I know the last time I really cried, sobbed, bawled, was when my grandmother was buried. I let rip, I didn't care. What I didn't know then was her role in the abuse. Before that was when I made a decision to move the direction my life was taking some 10 years ago. I sat on my bed, terrified and cried myself to sleep.
Another problem I have is being tactile. I want to be tactile, and I want to feel I cam accept the same in others. I have associated touching or hugging another man with sex for as long as I can remember. Shit! There have been times when I have wanted a hug and others when I wanted to offer a hug. I don't want to sexualise this life changing experience but holy shit, I need some hugs.
Today I have sung..... Well I'm tone deaf and I did it to an audience. I have vocalised. I had forgotten the following until I was driving home today.
Growing up my grandparents encouraged me to stand on a chair and sing. I might get 10pence reward. My grandfather also made me do that when we were alone, but I was naked and he would abuse me afterwards. He was a drunk, he resented the fact that my being there meant less money for his whiskey. Several times he sold my toys for drink money. Several times he made me steal so he could have drink money.
Today I took a baseball bat and hit seven types of crap out of a punch bag. I focused my anger, that punchbag was him.
Today I finally belonged somewhere, today I joined the "human" race.
And now I am crying, real tears, I'm crying, and I so so so want someone to hold me.
I really don't want to be alone anymore. Help me, please?
Urchfont Final morning
Woke up feeling terrible, had a disrupted night. Twice I woke up crying, wanting to be held, wanting some comfort.
After breakfast it was guilt time. I won't go into any details but I managed to balance my guilt against those who SHOULD have felt guilty over what they subjected me too.
The saying goodbye session was my breaking point, something inside me changed. Physically hugging everyone was something i had been fearing before last night. There was no pressure to do anything at the retreat, including comforting or hugging another guy. I wanted that brief moment of physical closeness with each of them, the brave men, the survivors, it felt as if it was cementing a lifelong bond. I didn't fear being touched anymore. How ill be back in the rat race i don't know, but i will take each day as it comes. The actual physical parting from my twenty something new friends left me sobbing in the car. I managed to drive a few miles away first, then the dams broke.
I felt cleansed by the tears, empowered and uplifted by the whole weekend. I BELONGED, I didn't feel like an onlooker, watching life, I deserved my place on this planet. We all did. I was no longer alone.
As part of my leaving "statement" I said this.
I leave here with a pocket full of star light, because you are all superstars to me, I will carry a part of you all with me always, thank you so much for everything.
The AMSOSA weekend retreat has changed me and my whole outlook on life.
Thank you Steve, and everyone else who made me feel so safe, so welcome and so not alone.
You are all strong, brave and amazing guys.