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When we think upon the abuse we suffered as children we are often consumed by feelings of pain and how they may continue to negatively affect us even into our present. It may be years before we consider, let alone care why our abuser may have done this to us. What made him/her the way that they are? If we allow our pain to answer this question, the immediate reply is likely, “Because he/she is a twisted pervert and a disgusting human being and they deserve to suffer.” These feelings are completely understandable and can even be a healthy first step in the healing process, however at some point we must move on to the next question: why would they have done something like this to me?
Statistics show that 95% of abusers were they themselves abused as children. When we are ready and when we are strong enough we may allow ourselves to move into the emotional realm of empathy. The odds are that your abuser suffered the exact same pain that they inflicted on you. If you can, think about that person as a little boy or girl and how scared they were when it happened to them. Imagine the shame that they lived with all of their lives not knowing how to deal with what happened to them and too ashamed to tell anyone. Then, after many years of that unrevealed secret festering inside of them like an infected appendix they exploded and they acted out inflicting that same pain on someone else, forever putting their life on a terrible course.
This reality by no means justifies our abusers and is not supposed to. By realizing that they suffered the same things we did it helps us to be able to forgive them. Forgiveness, contrary to common belief has much more to do with your healing than with the other person.
- By Aaron Kesseler
Aaron Kesseler was born in 1986, married the love of his life in 2010 and is currently working for his step-father’s commercial heating business in Seattle, WA. After high school he attended Northwest University in Kirkland for two years. Aaron has volunteered as a camp counselor for five years with the Muscular Dystrophy Association Summer Camp as well as three years with Royal Family Kids Camp, a summer camp for the most abused and neglected children in the area.
The mission of 1in6 is to help men who have had unwanted or abusive sexual experiences in childhood live healthier, happier lives.
1in6′s mission also includes serving family members, friends and partners by providing information and support resources on the web and in the community.
The views expressed above are not necessarily those of the Joyful Heart Foundation or 1in6.