Tag Archives: recovering family

Sexual Honesty

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This post is maybe the most difficult one I have written in a long time. I am going to write something I feel strongly about and I realize that some parents reading it may have a negative response or an immediate defense to it.
I hope that as you read this, you have an open heart and an understanding that this comes from a place of experience that, while not difficult to be honest about, has cost my family much. I truly pray that you have never yet experienced this and never will.

If you have difficulty reading these words, please know I am not judging – my adamant appeal comes from experienced pain and awareness that prevention in this area is some of the best protection you can offer to your children in this world, that ripples through to every area of their lives.

If you need to leave because it’s too much for you, please come back and take the time to read more in the little chunks you need – because your children need you to build your strength for this.
If you feel the need to comment, please do so with love. You are speaking to a real person, one who has been through the hell she is praying she can guard your family against, by arming you with reality, truth, and compassion.

Bodily Honesty with our children – Sexual Honesty. Why is this so important to me? Well, first of all, it’s about the human body – you know, the ones we all live within. I am an advocate for informed consent, which effects basically every issue under the sun, but especially the issue of the human body.

Related Posts:
Family Birth & Circumcision – everyone desires for their body to be respected and allowed informed consent before their genitals are touched in any way
Teaching Our Children About Bodily Autonomy  – there’s a link here to Gavin deBecker’s Survival Signals
Health Selections
 – curriculum additions/substitutions to Ambleside Online through the years

We deserve to know our bodily heritage. We deserve to know the ramifications of surgery, drugs, and allopathic treatments’ interaction within our body. We deserve to know this information about more traditional (or so-called “alternative”) methods, as well. We have not only the right to know, but the duty to know, as adults. These bodies were given to us as a gift from our gracious Father, and we are called to care for these temples.

Let me quote something I’ve said before, because it’s just as important here, beginning with the reference to 1 Corinthians 6:

In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for “becoming one” with another. Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.

“It speaks directly to sexual relations, and yet, there is more to this verse. The point of it is: what you put in your body is of huge importance to God, whether it’s the food you eat, drugs you ingest, or the people/person (hopefully, prayerfully… singular) you allow yourself to be sexually intimate with.”

This is no less important for the beautiful people, our children, that God put into our care. They have the right to know about their own bodies, the changes that will come (future tense, not present – they deserve to be prepared beforehand), the consequences of various medical treatments if they face medical issues, and most of all they have a right to know how to protect themselves from the negatives of anything going into their own body, sexual, medical, or other.

Something struck me as odd the other day, as I realized how frequently I hear parents saying they wait until their child is a year before or into “teenhood” to have discussions of “the birds and bees.” I often hear cited that a boy hears The Talk from the man in the family, while a girl hears The Talk from the woman in the family.
I cringe every time I hear this or read it. This is where I hope you will listen with an open heart and mind and know my cringe is not judgement, it’s concern.

There are a few things at play here, a few challenges to waiting this long to share with your children the reality of their bodies and the biological play that has been being acted out since before they were even born.
First, these changes have already been taking place long before 12-13. Their bodies have been preparing for puberty since conception (for females, we were carrying our future children while we were in our mother’s wombs; every woman pregnant with a girl is carrying her future grandchildren as well!).
To share the information of the implication of these changes with them, at an age when they have already experienced them (and may have been hesitant/ashamed/nervous to come to you, because it had not been a topic open to discussion before) has kept them in the dark.

Second, this ignorance causes confusion – “why am I so weepy lately?” “what am I doing not talking to my mom right now?” “why do my armpits have a smell in them?” “Ah! why is there hair growing there?” (The latter being a question even most adults don’t really know the answer to.)

This ignorance causes unknowing endangerment.
Here are the statistics on child molestation. You might already be aware of them, but I want you to think of it like this: if 10 of us mothers got together in a room and we each had 1 boy and 1 girl, 4 of us mothers would be secondary survivors – family members of victims; if our children had painted handprints on their clothes to show the statistics, 2 1/2 of the girls would be covered and 1 1/2 of the boys would be covered in handprints – the evidence of touches we don’t actually see. Of those children/families, 2 of the victims would be assaulted by a friend you let innocently into your child’s life, 1 of the children (probably a girl) would have been assaulted by their father, and the other child by a relative. It’s rare that it will be a stranger who hitch-hikes through town and takes your child on a horrifying stroll through the woods (though, it does happen, VERY rarely).

Since there are ten of us in the room, maybe you can feel safer knowing that my family already takes out the father statistic and one of the girls is now accounted for. But you are forgetting that many children, *especially* when they have been abused by family members, are hesitant to share they have been abused. I did not. I hid it all away even from my own mind because it was, frankly, too traumatic to deal with and as a small child I felt abandoned by my family who unknown to me at the time were at the will of corrupt courts.
Unfortunately, one or more of you are standing before a daughter or a son who isn’t covered in paint handprints, but has been covered in them none the less.
And I want you to catch on particular statistic: of those that actually DID report sexual abuse, 34% were already 12.
At that age when some parents think it’s finally time to sit down and have the “birds and the bees” conversation with the same-gendered child, they’ve not only already started the process of puberty and changes, but many children have already been taught the dark side of the “birds and bees” by a family member or family “friend.”

Based on these statistics, it is imperative that not only do we make this a life long conversation, starting as soon as words can come out of our children’s mouths, but that we do not wait until they ask questions. This does not mean instilling fear into our children. It means informing them. It means letting them know that mom and dad are and should both be safe people to talk about every facet of their lives. It means arming them with knowledge that can save their lives. It means empowering them to know “it’s my body, I don’t like that, don’t touch me” is ALWAYS acceptable to say and you will always fight for their right to say that and be honored in it, whether it is a doctor, a priest, a relative, or anyone they are talking to.

I cannot stress this enough: it is a grave failure to wait until they are halfway through their childhood to talk about their bodies and their sexuality.

 

This is part of a poem written for a child in the Parent’s Review magazine, but I could not help but resonate with it for parents, who leave things undone or unsaid because they are squeamish, or do not think their children “ready” to be knowledgeable about their own bodies (and by extension, how to protect them). The Sin of Omission (the rest is beautifully said; click the link to read all of the poem):

“For life is all too short, dear,
And sorrow is all too great,
To suffer one slow compassion
That tarries until too late.
And it’s not the thing you do, dear,
It’s the think you leave undone
Which gives you the bitter heart-ache
At the setting of the sun.”

 

Forgiveness isn’t once

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ForgivenessFreedom
Something I’ve been able to achieve this pregnancy has been a fair amount of peace, dealing with issues that were buried, and not having a lot of melt-downs from PTSD.

I need to back up a little bit before I continue. I wrote this quoted part about 3-4 weeks after the criminal trial against Doctor Horrible:

“The last couple of weeks following the criminal trial against Doctor Horrible (my ex-husband) have been weird. His public defender, who is no longer his lawyer, has been going to my old blog and printing off posts, emailing them off, etc. He was methodically going through my archive history. Honestly, I am not afraid of anything I write about – but I am concerned for Melody’s safety.

Part of the safety issues is that Doctor Horrible is now out and free to victimize again, and with his public defender having already used my past in the criminal trial, I have no doubt Doctor Horrible would use it to regain custody of Melody. I can’t fathom him being in her life to molest her again, or to make her feel horrible for telling the truth to begin with.

There’s been a lot going on in life since the trial. So much of my thoughts and energy have been focused on the ins and outs of the trial, what happened and why, and what comes now.

I still wonder where he is. I don’t want to know his address or anything like that. I just want to know if he’s in town, or in another one. I want to keep my daughter safe and wish there was a way to keep every little girl safe from him.

I wonder why his criminal record wasn’t revealed at the trial, of which he is still on parole for. One would think that murdering your son and sexually assaulting your daughter do have some small thing in common.

My sleep is disturbed every night with nightmares. I always, always see the jury in my dreams. I see three jurors smiling as the verdict was read – which really happened – while the other juror faces are blurred out.

Last night I dreamed that I was sitting down with the judge, and he told me he was upset about the verdict and he wanted to help Melody and I. He gave me a number and told me to tell the organization that he had sent me. Through the whole thing, I saw the three jurors in the background, smiling.

One of the jurors sells things at farmer’s market. I can barely stand to go there anymore, knowing she was one of those who smiled. I saw her last week for the first time since the trial, and my body shook with nerves. She whispered to another seller, and pointed at me as I went by. There’s more to that story, but I’ll share it later. The sight of her physically makes me sick. I sobbed through half the time we were at market.

I was discouraged and depressed until a few days ago, about everything. But really, I was allowing myself to continually wonder why the three jurors smiled… what made them think that was an appropriate time to smile, regardless of what their verdict had been. I was fearful about Doctor Horrible coming to hurt Melody again.

This last Sunday morning, I could not get my contacts in before church. I didn’t go. Melodu did go to church with Daryl. I ended up having a much-needed time with Yahweh, that resulted in me giving up the need to know why. I gave up clinging to fear that the man who did so much damage to my little girl, could come back and do more. I will go more into this later, because I think that it will be helpful for myself to go through it in writing and express everything. I just don’t have time right now, as there’s laundry and dishes to do, a meal to prepare, and some playing to do outside with Melody.”

So, flash forward to today. I took the kids to the homeschool park day, planned by an awesome momma at the end and beginning of each school year. I’ve been to 3-4 of them now.
This last fall at Not Back To School park day, I saw the farmer’s market smiling juror there for the first time, and I didn’t go over to where most of my friends were, because I kept having the same overwhelming feeling of shame wash over me that I had when I saw the woman Doctor Horrible messed around with, years before I learned about the molestation. I did nothing wrong, but I felt shame, panic, sick and scared. Why is it that the person who was cheated on can feel like that?

At any rate, that’s the same feeling I get when I see the smiling juror with my friends.
I didn’t want to go today. I knew her kids were now being homeschooled and I would probably see her again. She was there, sitting with my friends again. I didn’t feel anger, just that same shame, panic, fear, sickness.

One of my friends came over to me while I was pushing the littles on the swings and asked how I was.

I have deliberately never told my friends who this woman is – she works at farmer’s market most years, she is now a part of the homeschooling community, and they know her. I have not told anyone she was one of the 3 smiling jurors for a few reasons, but mostly because I know I am a human and if I knew they knew and still chose to be with one of the people who smiled as they let a child molester go free, I couldn’t be okay with that. I didn’t want them to have knowledge that I would get sick over if they wanted to spend time with her.

 

I told my friend I could lie and say I was okay, but I was having a rough time and couldn’t go over to the picnic table. (I was obviously crying anyway, so I couldn’t have hid it if I wanted to.) I just couldn’t make myself, it was drawing up too many painful issues. She said, “I know, she’s sitting across from me.”

HOW DID SHE KNOW??

I want to be brave, to ask her how she knows, who she found out from. But, somewhere deep inside I feel like I know the answer, and it angers me.
This is our story. It’s not anyone else’s to tell. In every moment, from the assaults on Melody, to the trial no one asked if we wanted, to the verdict… really, every moment in between, no one cared about our power. No one allowed us any. In fact, every person involved in the molestations (and the cover up of them), the trial, the verdict… they all took part in ensuring that we continually had no power, no say, no resolution or clarity for ourselves, or regaining of autonomy.
That wasn’t something on their hearts or minds… what do the victims want or need in this.

To think of any one of the people involved in taking our power and our voices away, taking it upon themselves to share with my circle of friends any part they played… sickens me. It’s not their story to tell, in any way, part, or for any reason.

The one friend who came to me at the park today, once I knew she knew the woman was one of the jurors, I said it through tears, “I honestly don’t know how to cope here. It took me weeks and weeks to not have nightmares about their three smiling faces. And there she sits, unmoving from my friends. I keep thinking I’m better, that I’ve forgiven her for smiling at such a thoughtless, terrible time, but then I realize it’s all fresh and I have to start over again.”

My friend said something like, “Don’t let satan rob you like that. Forgiveness for us isn’t a one time thing. It’s whenever we need to. It’s over and over, if we have to. That’s okay to see that and keep bringing it to God.”

So, rather than bury this crap with a few glasses of wine and try to go on tomorrow morning like nothing happened (the latter part being my default as an all/nothing person), I’m taking this to God and doing some emotional releasing. I’m working on forgiving, 70 times 7, even if no one gets why I feel the need to.

Forgive As You’ve Been Forgiven – The Science of Relations

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I’ve been talking about the connections of faith, healing, and PTSD, but I haven’t really gotten to the PTSD aspect yet.

I’m a serious work in progress.
I have ups and downs in my healing path through PTSD. Some days I am at peace and calm (really, it is more and more often now), while other days I feel like there isn’t “the other side” or that I won’t reach it.

After the failed criminal trial, I spiraled downward.

I think I’d been silently living feeling victimized the majority of my marriage to Doctor Horrible – he rarely slept with me despite my sometimes begging, did not financially provide, called me manipulative when I cried (after he called me a whore… I can actually laugh at that insane insult, now, while realizing sadly that he is a narcissist), used the little bit of our money on drugs and alcohol, and told me it was none of my business where he was until 3am.

I can look back now and see I constantly felt like a martyr – I had to die to me to serve AND survive him… but I don’t mean that in a Biblical way. I mean that as in, I felt like in order to survive, I had to strip myself of me. I had to stop feeling, stop having opinions or thoughts or values that effected anyone else. I often felt like to survive, I needed to be on automatic, like a robot… because letting myself feel the full weight of what Doctor Horrible was in our marriage would crush me.
I also felt like my outward doing would be a light to Doctor Horrible, and despite that I am bold and striking, I tried to be soft and subtle in it, thinking that was somehow “more” God’s nature than the one He instilled in me and being me would be a sin.

Then I learned about Melody’s assaults and the wall I’d been slowly building, came crumbling down.

Through the next year and a half until the criminal trial, I think I went through most of the “stages of grief” except the fullest extent of anger. I look back and think that I struggled a lot with denial. Not denial that he had done it, but denial that while God is black and white, the world is grey… and that justice on earth may never come.
I convinced myself through my prayers that he would see justice on earth and mercy in heaven. The knowledge that we reap what we sow terrified me to think of Doctor Horrible not having justice here, and instead spending eternity separated from our Creator. That reality was and still is the most painful.

When 12 strangers chose to ignore Melody’s story, the trauma I’d been struggling through intensified to an intolerable level. NO ONE cared about the victims. No one asked what we wanted… did we want vengeance or restorative justice? Did we want eventual contact or permanent isolation? Did we want him to offer restitution to us, as it really is not society he offended, but US? Not only was our autonomy stripped away by Doctor Horrible, but it was continually stripped by the society that pretenses that it cares about victims, while they took charge of our situation for us, yet again dis-empowering us. Feeling all of this, but not having words for it, made it difficult to process it. How could we? No one allowed us to regain our autonomy in the process that should have been for us.

It wasn’t until I started slowly working my way through Changing Lenses by Howard Zehr, after having read Feelings by Karol Truman, that all of those thoughts and feelings in me had words… “oh my gosh… these words… these are what I have been feeling, thinking about, churning around and around… and no words of my own could express this.” Melody and I read part of this book together, and we both wept. I have since set it aside for Melody, while I slowly work my way through it, but the bit we did together was transformative and freeing, while also heartbreaking.

If I had been allowed time to process things and think about what I hoped for from the situation, I can say that locking Doctor Horrible in prison for the rest of his life (and he would have been, had he been found guilty, as he is still on parole for murdering a child over 2 decades ago), while giving me and Melody a temporary sense of security (from him), was not what I hoped for him, for us, for the situation. That would not only not solve much of anything, it would put him in one of the most deliberately violent, breeding-of-con-man-mentality places after telling him how bad it is to be a con-man, a violator, a violent person who would strip away another’s autonomy… while striping him of his.
I know that is what some people want with child molesters. They want vengeance. I really do get it. Sometimes, on a rare day, I breath in that holier-than-thou mentality, too. I’m human and I sometimes struggle to remember that I too nailed the nails in Christ’s wrists and that “there but for the grace of God, go I.”

When I look back from the failed criminal trial, onward, I can see two things going on me in my disappointment and brokenness. One is my humanity, angry that even though we had all of our power taken from us yet again in how I/we wanted justice to be sought, and the system that stole this from us failed even by their own standards of “justice.” I felt like our victimization was ignored (and Howard Zehr confirms this is the reality, not just my feelings) and justice was not truly what was being sought (this is my own feeling). The other is something of the Christ within me, I hope, that what I really wanted was time to heal and an opportunity to keep Melody safe from Doctor Horrible for forever, but to have advocates come to him and hold him accountable to growing up and seeing Christ in their lives, even if he chooses to never trust God. I wanted to know he would not come near her, but not to be doomed to hell on earth or in eternity. I wanted to know that justice – restorative justice could be sought and exemplified. This was a man I once loved in the most intimate of ways, had chosen to bind my life with, as evil-hearted as he had chosen to be… and I still know him to be a child that God loves.

It’s taken me so long to get to the place to be able to express all of this. But, releasing my emotions rather than pretending I could bury them and seeing Howard Zehr almost flawlessly speak on my behalf (and probably many more victims) and express my confusion, anguish, and hopes amidst a nightmare…. have helped me to do this. They’ve helped me to do even more with my past beyond Doctor Horrible, too.

The connection from these books, these teachers, has been astounding in my life, to free me to express… that I can seek forgiveness and extend it, because of the One who forgives us all of far more than we deserve.forgivenessfreedom

Rot, Part 1

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In my style, I’m going to wind my way to what led me here. To writing about one rotting tooth.

This last weekend, I decided to have my first active appointment with the therapist who deals with repressed memories, among other things. It was basically an appointment to establish a backwards life line. We started at my current age to the beginning of the decade-age, and by chunks worked back to my earliest memories.

Something interesting happened that I wasn’t expecting. I expected emotional responses. But I didn’t expect anything starkly physical.

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While discussing Doctor Horrible, I could feel my body go numb. Like, truly numb all over. My emotions matched, and I simply gave data about what we went through in our marriage. That was strange in itself because… I loved him. As compared to my first husband, who I could admit early on in my life that I married out of fear… I had not only fallen in love with Doctor Horrible, but had chosen to love him fiercely through many difficult times and situations. I thought, going in, I was going to weep, but instead, I instinctively numbed myself to him and it, except when I couldn’t.
When I couldn’t stay numb, was when I said I felt a certain way about the time after finding out Melody had been assaulted, and to clarify, the therapist said, “so you felt like her protector?” I had, I still do, but I’d never given that feeling or responsibility a title before, and to hear it and accept it felt scary and heavy and holy. The knowledge that it was only God who held me there for her, stung me. I cried. I felt completely inadequate to the task, even though I knew I had done it with Him.

When we got to the period of my life with my first husband, I laughed almost the entire way through. The only time I stopped laughing was when I mentioned my grandparents giving me a life-line, sending me care packages and letting me know fully that they loved me even after I’d run away from home. I started crying to feel that love wash over me, love that filled me when I had put myself in isolation with a crazy man and my parents were understandably too hurt to reach out to me the way my grandparents had, love that I come to understand more as I grow older… love I learn to honor more each year. But that knowledge has come with regret. My grandmother died without me telling her how precious that love was, without really knowing I’d escaped my crazy husband, without hearing me tell her she’d been my best friend during my childhood. I had this brief opportunity and moment with my grandpa, but the thought of him now being dead, too, washed over me, and I couldn’t help but weep, laying on a table. I knew I felt regret, but I wasn’t expecting what happened next. Shooting, blinding pain in my right shoulder blade. The therapist asked to touch me and applied pressure under me to relieve the pain, but it remained until I allowed myself to cry it out and talk about other things. Then, the pain vanished.

When we got back to my school years, my body became cold. I started shaking, and while I registered that I was, it took me a few minutes to realize my body was telling me what this time period meant to me, uncontrollably – fear. When I stopped talking about my childhood, within less than a minute, I was not cold and I wasn’t shaking. Suddenly, my body felt heavy… but not in a bad way. It felt like I settled.

I’m bringing this all up for a bunch of reasons, but mostly because, I came home and started digging for what emotions these physical responses were linked to. It wasn’t very surprising, actually. Shoulder pain is linked to regret, which while feeling overwhelmed with the knowledge of my grandparent’s love, I was feeling intense regret.

This led me to starting to wonder about other ailments and their emotional connection. Like my tooth. I’ll get to that, in my next post.

Where children fear to tread…

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Through the last few years, I have had this… inkling, that there was something deeper than just what I knew was causing my PTSD.
I knew the statistics of a mother whose child(ren) were assaulted by their spouse, that it’s extremely likely that she herself had been assaulted (though not always), but that was not factoring in to my quite infrequent wondering of, “why do I use such strong words about things unconnected to assault, relating it to assault?” and other such ponderings.

In my early 20s, in context, I’d say things to friends about how sick my biological father was, and if he had ever assaulted me, I was okay with blocking it out and never knowing. It never struck me as odd to say that, despite that I’d never heard anyone else say anything like that.
Things from my childhood would come slowly bubbling up to me that didn’t make sense, or my reaction to those childhood happenings as a child that once made sense, now bothered me that I once thought “that’s normal.”

One example is that, as a young child, when my biological father came to pick me up every other weekend, I would hide – anywhere my young mind could think up. I was terrified, I felt abandoned my my mom and (step-, but I hate that because he’s my true father in every way but one) dad, and I remember saying simple desperate prayers like, “God, please love me and don’t let me go with him.” Looking back, I remember my mom saying goodbye to me with tears in her eyes. I know she must have felt helpless and scared. But I didn’t understand that then.
Once, I thought that was normal behavior, to not want to go with the “dad” you only see every other weekend, but in my 20s and now 30s I’ve recognized clearly that *terror* isn’t normal when your dad comes to see you for the weekend.

There are definitely memories I have of him being horribly evil in his actions, like watching him throw my pregnant step-mom down a flight of stairs. Memories of questionable behavior, like him giving me and one of my half-sisters wine cooler, while on his lap. Memories of his sick mental health, playing mind-games with me, my mom, and my step-family. While those certainly factor into my knowledge, something else has made me wonder…. did he ever harm me and I blocked it out?

When I was in my late 20s, I found out that in my childhood, he molested my half-sisters. I was devastated for them. This was around the time I learned Melody had been assaulted, that another family member of mine in their childhood had been assaulted. It was overwhelming, crushing the spirit I once knew within myself.

Before I worked on shutting off my genetic mutations, I had a “window” of sleepiness around 8-9, for about 30 minutes. If I missed it, which I did because I have children, I was wide awake and couldn’t even force myself to sleep until I got tired, around 2-4am.
Since shutting these defects off, I no longer have windows. I am just tired non-stop from about 9pm on. And yet, I resist sleep until I literally collapse from exhaustion. Only having Daryl in the room with me, have I been able to sleep when I’m tired, early. (I love that the Lord has brought me someone to feel safe with.) I’ve seen it, acknowledged it briefly, but passed it by.

Until I began pre-reading a book for Melody about incest recovery.
There is a list in this book, of symptoms of incest victims, that can be displayed throughout their lives. And I had well over half of them. Including resisting sleep. I’d never stopped long enough to think about why I was resisting sleep. But reading that bothered me. It felt like it just… fit me… but I didn’t want it to, at all. I fought it, but that book brought things into the open that wouldn’t go back into hiding

I began experimenting to see if I’d go to sleep earlier. I couldn’t, without something on in the room with me, a light and a book, my tablet, something. As I’d lay in bed with nothing, I just could not sleep. I would lay there, then after over an hour, I’d get frustrated for not falling asleep.
One night a few weeks ago, I deliberately lay in bed to find what made me resist sleeping. Was I afraid I’d miss out on something? No, I valued sleep far more than activity (I’m a Type 4, after all). Monsters under the bed? Nope. My ex? No. An intruder in the house? Psh. Ghosts? No. And then, I closed my eyes and prayed, and I asked God to show me what was causing this resistance to – the fear of – falling asleep. I saw the shadow of my biological father, standing in a doorway, and my breathing grew rapid and shallow. It was that, and only that. I knew it made no sense. He is a world away from me and I haven’t seen him since I was 6 years old. And yet, it was him. I thought this experiment would prove it was something else, but it only leaned towards confirmation.

This motivated me to seek therapy.
Back to that memory I had of watching my pregnant step-mom get thrown down the stairs. Her daughter was standing next to me and saw – but I’m the one that remembers that horrific scene. I know that people can repress traumatic memories, because I’ve experienced traumatic things that someone standing right next to me doesn’t remember.

I went to a recovery therapy appointment on Saturday, the first time I’ve attempted this, simply to ask the therapist about how they perform their therapy. I don’t want leading questions or anything like that, just body work to potentially release any trapped memories.
Because of its nature, I was hesitant to share with my parents about it, thinking they may think it was garbage or something. It was an assumption I wish I hadn’t made, but I did.

My mom called me right after my therapy appointment (not knowing I’d been) for a prayer request, and I ended up sharing everything with her, including that I realized what “bizarre” thing was causing me to resist going to sleep at night. I thought I would hear a skeptical “ah…”
But instead, my mom told me she believed that real happenings could be so traumatic for someone that they repressed them, then shared a part of my childhood I did not remember, honestly traumatic in nature, which confirmed the exact thing I am beginning therapy for.

What happened was my parents, hearing me begin to talk in my sleep, have night time issues (I was a bed-wetter for a long time and I do recall that), and saying some off things when they would pick me up from my biological dad’s house, started audio recording me when they picked me up.
So, they had recorded on audio what she detailed to me, which was that I was scratching my crotch repeatedly. They asked me to stop, but I told them it hurt really bad, that my bio-dad had taken me somewhere, and that another man put pink stuff inside of me there.
Terrified and confused, they rushed me to the hospital and had me examined. The Dr came out from examining me and was not happy. My biological dad had apparently already taken me in with someone else, and a doctor HAD put stuff inside of me.

And that’s when I said to my mom, “oh my gosh…. he did that very shortly before he made me talk to the police, didn’t he??”

Yes. Not very long after this, he took me into a police station and had coached me to report my real dad, my maternal grandfather, and my maternal uncle of raping me in a cult-like fashion. The police KNEW I was being coached, because I told them, at about 3-4 years old, the exact time it started (a crazy number like 6:27pm), exactly how long it went on for (example: 19 minutes), and exact time it stopped. There were other details that clued them in to it being coached, but the time thing was pretty big.

Now, this is the only part I remember: a state trooper came to our home and questioned me, and separately, my parents. I don’t remember the questions, just feeling intimidated, like maybe I’d done something wrong. I remember being in the trooper’s car and he let me turn his lights on and run the siren after it all. I remember giggling and seeing him smile at me. But most of all, I remember feeling like that officer saved me from my biological dad that day. I had a literally glowing image of him in my mind for about two decades.
What else I don’t remember from that day was that when the trooper asked me why I’d told the police about this, I told them that my sperm donor told me that if I didn’t, my mommy, daddy, and sister would be killed. This was put on record, but it’s not my own memory… even though it did happen to me.

I saw that trooper in 6th grade, through the DARE program and I immediately started crying. I felt so compelled to tell him thank you, he had saved my life in some way I didn’t know how to describe, that I asked my teacher to let me talk with him. He remembered me and said something about the case to verify he did remember me, but said he didn’t save me, he just did what he knew was right for my family and seek truth.

I asked my mom if she found those tapes, if I could have a copy, and she said she would as soon as they found them. I’m so grateful I decided to tell her, for several reasons, but the first two are…. I’m not crazy. I feel scared of that man for a lot of reasons, but reasons that were deeper and darker than I have allowed myself to remember, and still, I could FEEL it deep in my guts. I could feel it pooling up inside of me during the years of severe PTSD.
I am grateful I shared because I was pleasantly surprised to be proven wrong in my assumption of her/them and what they’d think about repressed memories. And, after telling me she would send them when they found the tapes, she wrote me later and told me that dad had told her he thinks he knows where they are, and they’d try to have them to me on CD in a few weeks, hopefully. Not just believing me… but trying to help me put these pieces together.

I don’t know if my biological dad did do anything sexual to me, but I do know he sexually assaulted my half sisters with a friend of his, repeatedly, and… in a ritualistic fashion. They do hold their terrible memories. 😦 I do know he was giving me alcohol. That he had a sick mind that could conjure up a tale of ritualistic rape of a child, threaten that child with the murder of her family, and force her to tell the sick tale to the police.
Had he sexually harmed me the day he took me to the Dr, and he was trying to cover his tracks, trying to blame my dad instead?
Not that I want it to have happened to me, but…. I am *not* somehow more special than my half-sisters, so why not me as well? There was nothing to protect me, just as there was nothing to protect them, despite our desperate parents.

I begin the journey of seeing if there are old memories that are trapping my emotions in an unhealthy pattern that can be released. I’m okay if nothing comes up, but I’m finally able to say I’m prepared if repressed memories do surface. So I can move forward in healing.

So I can sleep at night without a light on…

Groaning

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I wrote this on my old blog, about three weeks after Melody shared with me she had been molested. I recently thought of this post when I engaged in a conversation about happinoss versus joy, and heard a song that’s new to me, which I shared earlier last week.

 

anguishThere is never an “appropriate” time to talk about our situation. It will always shock, offend, make awkward, and bring sorrow to the hearts whom hear it.
You might not believe this about me if you’ve read through any of my heated topics on here (my old blog), if you don’t know me personally, but I don’t talk with an openness about difficult things. I will listen to other’s stories, I will cry for others with them. I do not speak face to face very often with brokenness over things I feel are difficult for me. Even when I do talk about difficult things for me, I smile. No pride. I want others to not worry, want them to be able to maintain their own sense of calm.

I trust God, and that is the only reason I can smile or laugh about anything these days. So it comes as a surprise to me that with those that I trust and love, I am pouring this situation forth freely. I simply cannot do this on my own. I cannot do this without support.

Each day I wake up and I hear my own voice screaming inside my head. Like my inner self recognizing my need to scream and release, but my inability to do so as soon as I wake up next to Melody, as I wash the dishes, when I cook dinner, or when I am talking with others.

On the night all of this started, I allowed myself to put a movie on for Melody, and then I went into the car, where I could see our door (and make sure she didn’t come out) and cried. I screamed. I begged God to tell me why. I called my parents in tears, told them what was happening, and for the first time in my life, I started blacking out. I didn’t quite go there, but it was close. I remember my Dad telling me to breathe.

When I don’t want to cry, I feel as though I very easily could, and I hold it back almost always. I don’t want to freak Melody out, make her worry, etc. When I want to cry, it doesn’t usually come and I feel like a robot in that moment.
I did allow myself to cry in front of Melody once so far, because though I don’t want to cry excessively in front of her, I also know that some crying in front of her is good. It lets her know that it’s okay for her to cry too.

I’ve trusted God in the easy times. Yet I haven’t just given Him lip service, but have tried desperately to serve Him, even when other’s said it didn’t matter as much as I saw that it did (does). I trust Him now. I cling to Him. I don’t talk to Him any more or less than I did before, but my prayers are so different than I’ve ever known them to be. Even when I went through other difficult things, I have never seen my prayers be like this.

When I was on the phone with my Dad that first night, there were many times during my telling him, that I stopped speaking. I started talking directly to God and almost zoned out from talking to my Dad. I would say a few words to God, and then, for the first time I can recall in my life, I groaned to God. A deep, gutteral groaning that came from the very pit of me.

I am thinking back to that night with tears in my eyes, not just because it was a difficult night, but because I truly believe that is what “praying in tongues” is – as Romans 8:26-27 says, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.”

This is so raw, so deep, so unbelievable… that all I could do in the fresh knowledge of it was allow Him to speak for me through my groaning.

My prayer life is deepening. I am glad for it, but I wish I didn’t have to experience the growth as the result of such a price to others.

Romans 8 goes on to say in verse 28 that “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
I don’t know what good God has in store for Melody and I, but I trust Him, and I know that even if our good is only on the other side of eternity, it is worth it to trust in Him.

Joy

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A strangely difficult, beautiful conversation came up recently.  From it came, what is happiness, what is joy?

Once upon a time, shortly after Melody told me she’d been molested… a frien-emy (I did not set myself out as this, but they constantly only ever had negative things to say to me and never edified with me, so, I can’t call them my friend really) told me for someone who talked about joy all the time, I sure wasn’t very happy.

I chuckled to myself because I knew the me that once thought JOY meant “super happy cheerfulness!” But in that valley, I knew that joy is completely separate from happiness. They can mingle together sometimes, but they are not by any means intertwined.
Joy can radiate from those that are broken, hurting, and very unhappy.
Like peace that surpasses understanding, joy is a choice to be made about our view of life and our level of faith in God. It can connect, deeply, with emotions, but it almost isn’t one in and of itself.

During the conversation about negative people, happiness, joy, struggles… someone shared this beautiful song from YouTube. I listened and wept. It was the epitomy of my life from the time Melody told me she was molested, until the day the verdict was read at the criminal trial. I could FEEL this song and it immediately brought me back to the most unhappy, joyous time of my life. It made me yearn for that joy once again.

This is the song, Joy, along with the story behind it (that I found after the first hearing).

This triggered memories of the time from Melody telling me of her assaults, all the way through the hellish three years after the trial, in which I stopped choosing joy and chose bitterness, brokenness, and anger instead.

And tonight, I realized something completely new. Something I’ve known this whole time, but not put together in my puzzle of that time.
While I was grieving my child’s molestation, my husband’s clear abandonment, everything… I never felt abandoned by God. I never felt as though He didn’t care. I knew His Truth, and that gave me joy unspeakable.
Toward the end, before the trial, He placed Daryl in our lives. I had never felt so loved by a man, romantically. I still haven’t, praise God, truly.

When I railed against God and the world in the hours after the verdict was read at the trial, I lay scared, angry, and weeping on Daryl’s couch, and uttered words I will always regret. Basically, “I hate Him. I hate that He could allow us to go through this hell, allow her to be abused by him, and then have the world act as though we went through nothing. He hates us and I hate Him for letting her go through this for nothing.”
I saw deep sadness spread across Daryl’s face. His eyes read pain. I knew it hurt him to hear me say this.
After actual hours of crying and railing, I looked at Daryl and told him that I loved him, but I could feel something shifting in me and I knew I was going to be angry for a long time, maybe forever, and I didn’t know what my faith life was going to come to. I told him that right then was the opportunity to break off our engagement if he wanted to, and I wouldn’t blame him one bit.

He looked me in the eyes and told me he loved me, and he wanted to love me like God loves me. Even when I push away, He wanted to be there to love me, and Daryl wanted to love me like that. I tasted Grace in that moment, even as I was spitting at God.

For almost three years, I struggled with God. After a few weeks, I turned my face to Him, but I resisted Him and I distrusted Love, even though I knew I was wrong for doing so. For three long years, Daryl loved me as a bitter, negative, scared, broken-spirited person. I was so very different than the woman he met and fell in love with.

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How can I not look back on that as a gift from God? In the midst of feeling abandoned by Him, in the midst of my sorrow with Him, in the midst of my fear of His will for my life… He ensured a daily surrounding and caressing of my soul with His love for me in the grace, mercy, and patience of my husband. And I’ve known this all this time… yet… never placed it into the pattern of my life: as one of a thousand generous gifts of God to a wounded, bitter, broken daughter.

How can I not want to chase after His Joy when I come to see all of this?