I was reading a friend’s blog the other day and she posted an article about the why questions that abuse survivors live with. It started me thinking and I realise that I have many questions that reverberate around my mind, my emotions, my memories, my thoughts and my attempts to heal and move on. Some of the questions I know are rhetorical questions, others though I scream out for answers.
As a child it was “don’t speak bad about them, respect your parents, they are your parents and they are upstanding members of the church and pillars of the community”. Then as I became an adult the pressure put on me from people in the church to show my abusers love, forget what they did and put things right with them just because they were my parents was almost impossible to live with and caused me so much pain and confusion. [And that in spite of the fact that it was my parents who disowned me when THEY realised I was no longer prepared to be controlled by them.] Those same people continue to harbour my abusers in the church while I cannot even so much as darken the door of that church with my shadow.
Over the years I’ve had to cope with the “whatever they did they are still your parents and you should just forget it”. All of that just adds to the confusion I already have inside of me and makes it harder to heal, harder to survive, harder to keep going.
Some questions I’ve asked along the way, some I’ve given no voice to up until now. Some of them I know will never be answered but they are there nonetheless. So here’s a few of them.
Why is it that when it is family who are the abusers you are supposed to love them and want a relationship with them?
Why is it when it is family who are your abusers you are supposed to just forget it?
Why is it when it is family who are your abusers you shouldn’t take action against them?
Why is it that when it is family who are your abusers you should not seek justice?
Why did my mother seem to take so much pleasure in humiliating me that she laughed and laughed as she masterminded my torture over so many years?
Why would an adult sexually mess with a child?
How could an adult sexually mess with a child?
How could people be so consistently, deliberately and sadistically cruel to their own flesh and blood?
What was it about me that was so bad?
The hardest thing for me has been that the so called ‘church family’ rejected me just as much as my biological family. So many Christians when they realised how wounded and damaged, totally relationally impaired and untrusting I was and yet I purported to be a Christian and to love Jesus – fingers started to point and the ’should’ words began to be spoken and it was turned on me that it was my fault I was so screwed up. One Christian lady actually told me that she did not believe that I was a Christian because I was so depressed! That hurt me so much and added to my confusion.
Why is that so many Christians don’t get how you can be a Christian and be in such a mess. Why is that?
Instead of coming alongside me, giving me space to tell my story and helping, it was oh just forgive, forget, move on, it happened so long ago, stop harping on about it, stop dragging it up from the past. WHY IS THAT?
How can I ever forget 20 years of abuse and torture? It may have happened a long time ago, but I live with it every minute I’m awake and then in my nightmares when I do sleep. For me it is not in the past it is very much in the present.
How could I move on with none to help and walk alongside me?
How can I forgive when my abusers deny anything ever happened?
How can I forgive when my abusers say anything bad that ‘might’ have happened was because I such a bad person, they did nothing wrong?
How can my abusers carry on with their lives as if all is normal and nothing is wrong?
Why are churches and so many Christians so closed minded about the realities of living with past sexual abuse?
Why are churches and so many Christians so closed minded about the realities of the deep damage of childhood abuse and of the complexities of the healing processes?
Why do so many churches have systems in place to prevent abuse happening, but provide little or no support to REALLY help victims heal?
Why is it that so many Christians tell you that as you are a Christian, you are a new person so your past is gone, so all the stuff from your past abuse should be gone too?
Why is it that so many Christians tell you that you are doing something wrong if you aren’t healing from the damage of the abuse or if you don’t have joy etc?
Why do so many Christians tell you that if you read your bible enough and pray enough you should be fine? [Implying that you cannot be reading your bible or praying enough because you are a screwed up mess]
Why is it that so many Christians think you don’t need counselling or anything; you just need to get over it, forgive your abusers and forget it? WHY IS THAT?”
One of the hardest things I found in church was the use of language. Calling God ‘Father’ is a huge trigger for me, as is talking about having secret places, I understand about the secret place of time alone with God, but talking about secrets and secret places just triggers stuff. There are so many other words that are used in church which are triggers, I just can’t think of them right now. The hardest thing in going to church for me was leaving church afterwards and heading home. That always sent me into a depression. I couldn’t handle it because deep inside I was reminded that as child going home from church meant walking back into hell, it meant going home to punishment beatings, it meant going home to the isolation of being in that hell hole of a home with none to come to my rescue. Also, going home from church and seeing so many of the rest of my friends at church going home to be with friends and family, and hearing them talk about their plans to do so increased my sense of isolation of having none to eat Sunday lunch with. So often I left church feeling isolated and suicidal because of all those memories and all that pain so that in the end I stopped going to church to avoid going through that pain each week.
Why is it that all these years later going home from church should trigger so much painful stuff, that now I cannot face going to church because I just cannot face that pain of going home from church alone anymore?
Why is it that church is full of so many Christians who are simply not honest about the real struggles so many of us face in our attempts to survive and deal with the damage caused by our past abuse?
Why is it that church is the one place I avoid because I know I don’t fit people’s ideals as to what being a Christian should be?
Why is it that church is the one place that I avoid simply because I cannot face the questions and the ‘should’ statements anymore?
Why is it that so many Christians are blind to the work that God is doing in my life because I’m not healing in the way or at the pace that they think I ‘should’ be?
Why is it that I walk so closely with Jesus because I have to, I would not be alive if I didn’t, and yet feel such a misfit when I do summon up the courage to go to church?
The wonderful thing is that God has now brought some wonderful professional experienced amazing women into my life who are all giving me hope and walking alongside me, believing in me. I know I will heal now, although I know it will be a long journey.
My heart was broken twice over, once by my birth family and second by the church family.
But thankfully I do now have a very small handful of Christian friends who see the real me who underneath that fake smile so desperately wants to heal. Thank you to all of you who are supporting me in my journey. Thank you for walking alongside me and praying for me, even though you may not always understand what is going on. You are slowly and surely restoring my trust and showing me the love and compassion of my Safe Daddy.
It’s wonderful that I have a voice now through this site. I love how God is connecting me with so many survivors over the internet and through this blog.
I am a survivor of extremely severe ritualistic childhood abuse and sadistic systematic torture. Without God's intervention in my life I wouldn't be here - NOW is the time for me to tell MY story by speaking the TRUTH about MY life. I will be silenced no more! On this blog I share MY life, MY healing journey; helpful quotes/stuff I come across and MY thoughts along the way. The more I speak out the more liberated I am from the shame and trauma of the abuse. My broken wings are gradually being restored. This blog has helped me begin to get my voice back and documents the journey God is taking me on to heal me from the trauma and damage caused by that most appalling abuse.