Survivor Stories
Tom Callanan

When Tom finally released himself from the burden of his lifelong secret, he discovered the joy of intimacy unconstrained by the fear of betrayal.

Sexually abused at the age of five by a caregiver, Tom kept it secret so as to protect his abuser and the rest of his family. He bore that secret and its weight for half a century. Despite the burden, Tom navigated well the world of love and work. But there were inexplicable hitches. He found himself simultaneously drawn to intimacy and terrified by it. He was successful professionally, but occasionally had intense negative reactions to men who held power over him.

The unmasking of these mysteries, and the secret that Tom kept even from himself, began in a workshop that triggered a profound upheaval. The trauma he suffered as a five year old came roaring back.

The secret revealed, Tom has been relentless in his quest to heal himself from the legacies of abuse and betrayal. A decades-long practice of meditation, a scorching honesty and the raw courage to face and accept his own vulnerability, have all been transforming. With the loving support of his partner and a community of friends, Tom has learned to ask for and receive help, to honor and tend to his own vulnerability, and to joyously pursue intimacy that for the first time in his life is no longer constrained by the fear and weight that was placed on the shoulders of a five year old boy.