Almost immediately after revealing what had happened to him three decades ago, Mumford said he vomited, adding, “Apparently, it’s very common. Once you basically unhook the denial and start the process of removing some suppression, then it’s very natural for that stuff to come out.”
Reflecting on how being sexually abused as a child affected him into adulthood, Mumford described himself as being addicted to shame.
“I lived most of my adult life up until just really recently in, like, layers of shame. And it probably started there when I was six, but I just got kind of addicted to shame, layers and layers of shame, which is why I feel now like I’ve done lots of figuring that out,” Mumford said. “And some of the areas in which I was trying to make that shame go away just led to more shame for me. And now being able to pick those apart a little bit and, like, chip away at the layers of it is why I feel kind of free, more free than I have in a long time.”
Describing what he meant by “addicted to shame,” Mumford explained it as “existing with that feeling at a level of normality which is not right.”
By processing his abuse, Mumford began to understand his struggles with alcohol and food. And through the process, he began writing songs that would eventually become part of his debut solo album.
The first song on Mumford’s album, called “Cannibal,” tackles his abuse head on with the lyrics, “I can still taste you and I hate it; that wasn’t a choice in the mind of a child and you knew it.”
Mumford recalled playing the song for his mother at a time when his parents had moved in with him during the pandemic. Mumford said that she thoughtfully listened to the song and left. A few days later, she came back and asked what the song was about.
Mumford recalled his response as being, “‘Yeah, it’s about the abuse thing.’ She was like, ‘What are you talking about?’” Mumford had still never told his mother about his having been sexually abused.
After what he described as a “traumatic” conversation for his mother, Mumford joked about the absurdity of accidentally telling one’s mother about your childhood abuse by singing her a song. Mumford eventually wrote a song about the conversation with his mother, titled “Grace,” which is the second track on the album.
“And yeah, see, there will come a time when it won’t feel just like living it over and over, with the weight of the shadow on your shoulders; and I hear there’s healing just around this corner,” the lyrics read.
Marcus Mumford’s “Self-Titled” releases on September 16.