Friday, 24 August 2012

Fear of talking to other men #amsosa


Do you feel unable to talk to another male about your sexual abuse, if so, what does that say about you?

Does it mean that you are weak?
Afraid of being abused again?
Possibly not even a 'real' man?

No it does NOT, all it says is that your anxiety is heightened to a level of untrust, but there really is nothing to be scared of, IF you take the first step towards speaking out, it also says that you are scared of what could happen, having been abused, disbelieved, or ignored in the past, so by treading carefully, you will take the biggest and best steo forward ever.

Many men who eventually contact us fear that they would be seen as weak, unable to cope with life, and unable to be the strong man they are supposed to be.

So lets think it through, because what you are trying to do is cope with a childhood fear, but doing so as an adult man, and therefore are bringing adult logic into action, so it confuses you even more, as you know its the childhood pain that is causing the hurt and pain you feel

Working on that premise, to finally speak out takes immense courage and inner strength, which we all possess, but something we also lose along the way, but by starting to speak, we slowly but surely start to break the secrets and silence which was imposed upon us

Here are a few issues that cause us problems before healing is started:

* Many male survivors are fearful and isolate themselves from other men.

* You may have difficulty in being ' seen' or undressing in communal showers or locker rooms.

* You avoid using public toilets if you can do so.

* You avoid male activities or even being in the same room with other men.

* Most of us have had abusive or unavailable male role models.

* It is often those fears that stop you from even telling anyone about the abuse.

As a result, you may feel flawed as a 'real man' and experience major issues regarding male gender shame.

Men usually deal with this in one of two ways:

By over-compensating with a need to prove masculinity through hyper-sexuality, invulnerability, and constant efforts at control and mastery;
or under-compensation, avoiding traditional male behaviors and interests (often associated with seeing or believing that men are perpetrators)

For me, and the men I work with, the best healing process begins in group sessions, as that helps show you that you are not alone, that you are not at threat of bein abused again, and that you are amongst fellow survivors who really know how you feel and what you have gone through.

Being in a group session with other men brings out many of the underlying issues associated with gender shame, which makes it easier to conquer and overcome. Here are some examples:

In group therapy sessions, you have:

* The chance to find out that what you think, feel and experience is not wrong or perverted
* The chance to find true partners in healing, and true friends to support you
* The chance to know that you're not alone in this struggle
* The chance to be yourself, perhaps for the first time in your life

So why not give a group session a try? There is no real fear in being afraid, and admitting that, and then getting over it in time can be liberating and sets you free from the past. If that still feels too much to take on, consider perhaps doing one to one sessions, which is just as safe and is one setting that allows you to stay safe and control what happens to you.

If the thought about attending group sessions really scares you, why not pick up the phone or even email, as that often feels safer to do, and start speaking out about the abuse that has silenced you so far, but which is reeally not your secret to keep anymore.

All rights Steve Bevan, Amsosa UK.

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