The stories of healing from these courageous men will inspire a range of emotions.
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The Bristlecone Project

Portraits and Biographies of Male Survivors

Iciyapitate Kelly O’Shaughnessy

Sadistically abused, sexually and physically, by his father, Kelly survived by sealing away the anguish, terror and rage that would otherwise have overwhelmed him. Doing so allowed him to endure the unimaginable, but carried a cost. Sealing off a cauldron of pain also meant sealing off his capacity for joy. Kelly endured years of depression, a suicide attempt, and a bone-deep self-loathing.

But the soul is tenacious, and will not easily surrender. Gradually, Kelly began to challenge the self hatred; stem the self- destructive impulses; and test his safety in relationships. And then, he began to confront the long-buried emotions. Finding a qualified therapist was another trial, but Kelly persevered. He matched his soul’s tenacity. And he discovered that the emotions that would have overwhelmed him as a child and adolescent did not have to overwhelm him as an adult.

He had the capacity to experience them and to engage with them. Today, Kelly attends college, learning the horticultural skills that he plans to put to use to realize his dreams. He and Ken plan to build a bed and breakfast near the Pacific coast, offering a serene environment and food produced with the same care that Kelly has learned in his long engagement with his own wounded soul.