What are the benefits to disclosure.
Today we’re going to talk about the benefits of disclosure. Breaking the silence.
This is an incredibly difficult task for most survivors who have typically held on to their secret for 30 years plus. Sadly most men never disclose however those that do are rewarded with an enriched life that allows them to move forward in a positive and fulfilling way.
Undisclosed trauma can leave survivors with sadness, pain, anger, frustration, shame and sometimes hopelessness. This never completely disappears but the power it holds over the child victim reduces over time. This allows the adult self to live a productive and positive life.
Power of Vulnerability
In her book Brene Brown “The Power of Vulnerability” asks the question “ is vulnerability the same as weakness ?” In many cultures we associate vulnerability with emotions we want to avoid such a fear shame and uncertainty, yet we too often lose sight of the fact that vulnerability is also the birthplace of joy belonging creativity authenticity and love. She dispels the cultural myth that vulnerability is a weakness and encourages people to view it more accurately as a measure of courage.
Dr Brown has interviewed hundreds of people as part of an ongoing study of vulnerability. Research shows that we try to avoid disappointment with a shield of cynicism. Disarm shame by numbing ourselves against joy and circumvent grief by shutting off our willingness to love. When we become aware of these patterns and we become conscious of how much we sacrifice in the name of self -defence our lives become richer and we are more open to vulnerability.
Breaking The Silence
So we can see the benefits of breaking the silence taking the chance of being vulnerable in an appropriate forum. Still it is immensely difficult to make that first step.
We’re going to focus on the key benefits observed by the number of men we have worked with over the last decade.
- The first sense is one of the relief, that you are no longer alone.
- You are with people who have shared this dreadful experience. With people who believe you and understand and empathise with your experience.
- The abuser was so good at ensuring the power of secrecy that most men carry it with them for their entire life. They believe only they had had such an experience.
- Men typically don’t want pity but they do want to be heard, believed and understood. Sharing your story with other men who have had similar experiences and who are willing to share their story is a powerful healing process.
- For many men the need to disclose is brought about by some form of hitting rock bottom. The techniques to numb the pain the avoidance strategies to hide away from the grief and started to lose their effectiveness. .Through being vulnerable and sharing their experience men typically become less attached to previous forms of avoidance distraction numbing and disengagement.
- Another great benefit from sharing is the power of the secret is removed this enables the adult man to view his childhood experience in its correct context. It was not your fault your choice or you’re doing that enabled the abuse to happen. Looking back at your child self in contrast to your adult self allows you to move to a position where you’re no longer a victim but a survivor.
- Many survivors are hypervigilant and anxious which is understandable given they were preyed upon when they were children. Outwardly this hypervigilance can appear to have positive outcomes. Many survivors are overachievers in physical intellectual and financial areas as a way of distracting and protecting from future abuse. Many are also represented in the helping professions as they have a desire to rescue others in a way that unconsciously they wish they been rescued themselves. No one would suggest giving up positive activities they only become a source of problem if the core motivation behind the activity is high levels of anxiety.
- Another benefit is owning your true self to Offen survivors minimise their achievements and also the impact of the abuse and doing so you are literally denying understanding the fullness of yourself. When survivors become better connected with their true self they enjoy fulfilling positive relationships and productive life.
Relationships can be a very troubling area for survivors as intimacy take them back to the memory of when abuse often occurred. To avoid this pain into the immense confusion of caring partners who want to be part of the survivor of life the men frequently shut off their emotions create distractions and excuses to avoid genuine intimacy and they often in relationships from a fear that people are getting too close to the