Bob’s childhood should have been impossible to survive. What looked from the outside like a middle class, church-going family, on the inside was home of horrors. Bob’s father sadistically abused him, sexually and physically. Bob’s intermittently psychotic mother sexually and emotionally abused him. When Bob was 16, his only sibling, an older brother, committed suicide. When Bob was 21, his father was murdered.
Bob emerged from these horrors a troubled young man who struggled with suicidal thoughts and addictions, but he has survived and even thrived. He has had a successful life in the material world, but more important to him, he has become a man of compassion. He has made meaning out of the horrors he endured by working for and with other survivors; by getting a Master’s degree in psychology; by running a non-profit agency; by writing; and by speaking publicly.
What made his survival possible? “Grace” and “stubbornness,” he says.
Grace: Many times his father’s sadistic abuse rendered Bob unconscious. Sometimes in this state, Bob sensed a merciful female presence. This spiritual connection gave him a hope and a path he has pursued ever since.
Stubbornness: When Bob found a pathway toward healing, he pursued it relentlessly. An example: his journals are now over 17,700 pages long. For decades, Bob has worked at all kinds of therapy and many healing paths. He believes that, even though it might be obscured, deep down even in the most tortured man there is an invincible light and yes – joy.