Dear Readers, if you have not read “BREAK TO HEAL, PART I,” I recommend you do so before reading the below.
Itʻs May 2012. Iʻm sitting across from my therapist of about three weeks, an hour or so into our session and the idea of saying the thing I need to say, the thing I have never said, is frenetically floating in my mind. “Say it….Say it!” says an inner voice. I take a deep breath and finally, I surrender. “Michael Jackson...molested me.” The therapist and my eyes lock, my nervous system forms rank, walls go up, and numbness reigns.
Most of the rest of that session and the drive from it is a blur to me now. As was previously planned, I drove straight to meet my wife Amanda, our son, my brother and sister at Food Truck Tuesdays in Venice, California. As I had done for most of my life and was incredibly good at, I bottled it all up and walked into that gathering as if everything was just fine and just the same. I hugged and kissed our baby boy, Amanda and my siblings and we all sat around an outdoor table and caught up.
Then, my sister stayed with our son at the table while myself, Amanda and my brother went to get some food from the trucks. Out of nowhere, my brother said, in a playful tone, that his wife had a crazy dream the night before. She dreamt that all the stories and accusations about Michael Jackson molesting me, were actually true. I couldn’t believe this just came out of his mouth. Time stopped. Usually I would have cracked some sort of irreverent joke at that point along the lines of, “Dude, if he did molest little boys, why didn’t he molest me? I wasn’t sexy enough?” But suddenly, I no longer had the capacity to react in the same old way. Post the session I had just come from, everything was different now. My head sunk and my heart throbbed. “It is true," I said quietly. “What?” said my Brother. I raised my head, “Itʻs true.” My brothers chest puffed out in anger. Amanda's whole body caved in as if sheʻd been hit by a boulder. The man from the food truck yelled out that our food was ready.
All experiencing our own level of shock, we went back to the table and I told my sister. Immediately, tears streamed down her face. There was lots of confusion, questions, crying, anger, sadness and support. This was all so new: I didnʻt know how to talk about it, I didnʻt know what to do next and neither did they. It had been 22 years of living a lie, most pointedly for me, but also for my entire family.
I believe it was that night or the next morning at the latest, that Amanda asked me one of the heaviest questions Iʻve ever received. “Iʻm sorry but I have to ask you this," she said. “Do you have any confusion about our son?” I understood that what she meant was, due to my being molested as a child, did I have any urges to molest our son? A painful question to hear but one of the easiest Iʻve ever had to answer. “No, absolutely not. He is the reason I finally spoke the truth about what happened to me and have begun this healing journey. My relationship with him is one of the few things I have clarity on.” This speaks to Amandaʻs strength and clarity as a human and as a Mother. This was a hard question for her to ask me, but she knew in her heart that she had to and didn’t hesitate.
My therapist gave me a book entitled “Victims No Longer: The Classic Guide for Men Recovering From Sexual Abuse.” "This book isnʻt about me," my terrified mind told me, but nonetheless I began to read, albeit skeptically. Almost immediately, I swore that the words I was reading were written specifically about me. The descriptions and male survivor testimonials about common symptoms, distorted beliefs, behaviors, fears, and longings were so undeniably aligned with my own experience that I was absolutely blown away. It was starting to make so many aspects of my life make sense. I took the book everywhere with me and read it voraciously. But I had my wife create a book cover for it because I was too ashamed of people seeing what it was that I was reading.
I was extremely nervous to tell my mother about the sexual abuse, so I organized for her to come into a therapy session with me, enabling me to have the Therapistʻs support. The moment I told her that Michael sexually abused me, tears cascaded down her face, she let out a wailing cry and kept repeating the words “Why didnʻt you tell me?” She grabbed me and hugged me while she sobbed but I couldnʻt quite hug her back. At that point, I had so much confusion as to how I felt towards her.
I went through many emotional and mental phases in the beginning stages of healing from the sexual abuse: confusion, shame, loss, sadness, hopelessness, anger, surrender, forgiveness, wonderment, release, clarity, and hope, to name a few. And not in a linear fashion.
I could no longer bear to dance, make music, watch or make films. In my mind, heart and body, Michael was the reason I started doing all of those things, therefore they were all deeply intertwined with the sexual abuse I suffered at his hands from seven to fourteen-years-old. I felt I could no longer be a part of the entertainment business because it too was synonymous with Michael for me and therefore the sexual abuse. But the problem was that dance, music, film, and the entertainment business was all I had ever known, all I had ever done, and was the definition of who I thought I was. I felt as though if I were to stop doing them all, I would disintegrate, disappear and nobody would love me anymore. Despite these intense fears, I had to try and find out WHO I WAS beyond WHAT I DID. The incredible book “A NEW EARTH” by Eckhart Tolle was an indispensable inspiration and guide through this process. To this day, that book is NEVER far from me.
I continued my twice a week, two-hour therapy sessions, embarking on an epic healing journey that included what I have found to be profoundly healing, life changing therapeutic techniques: E. M. D. R, (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) and Somatic Experiencing. E. M. D. R. is a technique developed for people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: it taps into the mind and bodies inherent ability to heal itself and turbo boosts that process. I found sources and connections to trauma, triggers, thoughts, and behaviors that I would NEVER have located via a purely analytical talk-therapy modality. Somatic Experiencing operates from the insight that trauma is stored in the body at a cellular level. We spent a lot of time focusing on painful and frightening sensations in my body, began to create a more holistic relationship with them, slowly desensitize to them and then systematically eliminate those sensations which were no longer serving me. Itʻs incredibly powerful healing work. If you have experienced any level of trauma in your life, please click the techniques above to learn more about them and consider finding a therapist that practices them.
During this time, I started a Yoga practice which served to give me a new and desperately needed consistent physical and energetic release as well as spiritual upliftings. It was incredibly helpful to move my body in a new way, and for a different purpose: not to impress anyone, not for money or fame but purely for pleasure and healing.
For years prior to this point, I had tried several meditation techniques but had never been able to stay consistent in my practice. About a month after I disclosed to my therapist, I came across a technique called VEDIC MEDITATION. I went to a free introductory session to learn more, was quite intrigued, signed up and learned the technique. It is designed to effortlessly unwind stress from the body and mind and is the easiest and most profoundly effective Meditation practice I have ever come across. This turned out to be one of the most important decisions of my life so far. It catapulted my healing process into the next gear and has remained to be a life changing daily practice. Google VEDIC MEDITATION and your AREA if you would like to learn more about it.
After several months of therapy, I decided I wanted to try a support group. I researched and found an international support group format entitled ADULT SURVIVORS OF CHILD ABUSE by The Morris Group that looked promising. It took me several months to work up the courage to go to one but once I did, I quickly found it to be deeply healing. I had felt so isolated in my experience and my healing journey and now I was in a room full of people once a week who had been through similar circumstances as I had and were experiencing similar symptoms. Over and over I would receive such solace listening to someone’s share with which I could relate to and the soothing feeling that I was not alone.
As a child, in the effort to survive the abuse, and the fear induced need to lie about it to family, friends and in legal situations, I had compartmentalized and numbed many thoughts and emotions. Therefore, often in therapy I would hit a wall when trying to connect to my younger self. But similar as to what inspired me to disclose in the first place: having visual flashes of my son being sexually abused and feeling so viscerally in response to them, in therapy, my Son became a profound access point to little Wade. Upon difficulty connecting with my younger self, I would often envision my son in the traumatic scenario from my past that I was trying to process. I could then feel it deeply, tap into what little Wade was feeling, and what he really needed, to heal.
About nine months into the healing process, so much having changed in my and my families inner and outer life, the external details of our current life situation had begun to feel less and less relevant: most notably of which, the notion of continuing to live in Los Angeles. Amanda and I decided we were going to move to Hawai’i, where Amanda is from. This idea was terrifying and incredibly exciting: a new beginning.
I then also made a big decision to take legal action against Michael Jackson’s Estate and entities. My intention for doing this was to create a serious legal platform from which to raise awareness about child sexual abuse, the abuse of power, and all of the people along the way that help facilitate the child abuse, directly or indirectly. As well as to hopefully play any role in helping other victims of Michael Jackson’s and/or victims of any child abuser feel less alone.
So, I buried dance, music, film, and the entertainment business alive, we sold our home, packed up our lives, said goodbye to my Mother, Brother and Sister and braced for the adventure of a lifetime. Just before we boarded the plane to Hawai’i, our little boy fell asleep in my arms. I carried him onto the plane and held him tightly as the wind lifted us into the sky. I looked down on the Los Angeles cityscape where such pain had occurred in my life. I then looked back at my sleeping boy and as tears streamed from my eyes, I whispered, “You saved my life.” I held Amanda’s hand and looked to the front of the plane where my eyes landed on the airline’s logo…a heart with wings.
To be continued…
Love, Wade Robson.
November 24th, 2017.