Our Need for Privacy: The Blueprint of Abuse

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About Yashar Ali

Yashar is a Los Angeles-based blogger, commentator, and political veteran whose writings about women, gender inequality, political heroism, and society are showcased on his website, The Current Conscience. Please follow him on Twitter and join him on Facebook.


  1. This is almost as if I am looking into a mirror. The obsessive pursuit of perfection, the obsession with crafting an outward self image that everything is perfect, and the exclusion of everyone from your private world.

    I often feel like I am living life on stage and everyone is watching me. An obsession with even appearing perfect. I wonder if you, like me, were obsessed with being perfectly dressed. From the symmetry of the bows on my shoes to making sure my cuffs are peeking out exactly the right amount, everything must be perfect. It has often frustrated my friends that I can’t spontaneously go out because I need a great deal of time to get ready. I need to be satisfied with my appearance and that means having everything be just as I want it to be.

    I still use many excuses with myself as to why I keep everything to myself. “I don’t even want to know these things happened, so why would someone else.” “It isn’t fair to share my burden with other people.” “They won’t be able to handle it and will look at me differently.” And, of course, “they will judge me as weak and a failure because of the things that were done to me.”

    Hiding imperfections has been something I’ve done for as long as I can remember. I am a classically trained pianist, but I will only practice when no one is around to hear me. I have taught myself a second language, but I won’t speak it with anyone until I’m fluent because I don’t want to appear like I’m still learning.

    I have made progress from the time when I lived under a false identity and had zero contact with anyone I actually knew. To this day, however, I still have a strong desire to disappear and return only when I am satisfied with the image that I project. The perfect body, incredible wealth, incredible skills at all things, etc. Because showing progress means admitting to the world that you’re not perfect.

    • @Collin, I was in a place somehow like yours, years ago.
      Whatever I did, it was never enough; I never felt “enough”. :(

      Then, one day, I managed to change my attitude: I was ok, despite being not perfect.
      It’s a good place to be. I hope you’ll get there, eventually. :)

  2. Julie Gillis says:

    A beautiful and moving piece. Thank you for sharing it here.

  3. What a beautiful, moving piece! Thank you Yashar!
    This is human being at its best.

    “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.”
    (Ambrose Redmoon)

    “Courage is being afraid but going on anyhow.”
    (Dan Rather)

    “Courage, in the final analysis, is nothing but an affirmative answer to the shocks of existence.”
    (Kurt Goldstein)

  4. I remember first reading this when it went up on “The Current Conscience.”.

    I love what Yashar has written, it’s humanity and it’s frank beauty. But I like it most for a reason that so many would not immediately realise.

    Child sexual abuse is presently headline business following on from Penn State and the Catholic Church scandals. There have been some high profile celebrity abuse victims like “Theo” Fleury who has stepped up to the mark to support the kids from Penn State.

    Fleury, of course, has a candid auto biography where he tells of his abuse, his demons and his drinking – how he was nearly destroyed and how he came back, how it was all linked to the abuse he suffered. You will not find me dismissing his abuse or the effects it has had upon his life.

    But there is an issue which comes from the media and their love of the sensational and salacious. They paint this portrait of abuse victims, which has to be damaged and damaging and perpetuates myths about how abuse affects men. It plays upon the damage having to be physical long after the physical abuse has stopped and it ignores the mental damage and the scars hidden within a life that can come out in so many ways.

    Yashar too had those scars, but like so many other survivors he buried them and became a High Functioning Abuse Survivor. He talks of his intense need for Privacy, his fear of being truly himself and his inability to open his life due to the way those scars simply held back the authentic man. Yasher shows that there is spectrum of survivors who all have deep wounds that come out in so many ways.

    I wish more people would see this piece and read it, so that they can see that others like Yasher exist. Abuse survivors can be sitting next to you as a High Flying human being, and still be dealing with pain and damage from years before. That is one of the legacies of Child Sexual Abuse which is hidden, and which so few know anything about.

    Until people are aware of the nature of such abuse and it’s survival in all forms, so much will not change – and I praise Yasher for showing the true breadth of experience and possibilities that exist.

  5. To be honest, I found it very difficult to finish this piece. I had to stop in the middle. I am so sorry for the things you have suffered. Thank you for your courage in sharing your story.

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