Survivors of Abuse and The Many Sides of Self
Physical Age, Emotional Age, Spiritual Age
When I was 21 and a new mom, I was a lot younger inside in certain ways. I did not have age-appropriate social skills, as an example. Spiritually, I was still in the hate God, blame God, it’s all God’s fault stage… which – as an incest survivor – is a normal stage to go through.
I have inside me my adult self, my inner child, my spiritual higher self, and the part of me that is damaged. The damage for me includes all areas of my internal adult, child, spiritual, emotional and physical self. When I went into my survival mode as a child, I stopped developing social skills and I stopped growing emotionally. All my energies went into surviving the incest assaults and brutal beatings.
So, as the years passed, the gaps between my physical age and my emotional developments grew bigger and bigger. This realization is where the title of my book comes from: I wanted to make up the ground that I lost. Anyway… at one point in my life I was 21 years old, emotionally more like 16 year old, and spiritually more like 3 year old. It is a very important part of your incest recovery to bring these parts into unison, and this will naturally happen as you work through your various struggles. Grow and heal, and you will slowly bridge the gaps. So, in that sense, there is no extra work to do other than to maintain an awareness of the gaps… and as you continue your incest survivor counseling these gaps begin to fill in.
Closing the gaps includes all the other writings thus far and more to come in specially titled postings, except spiritual growth. So that is what I will focus on here instead of repeating everything else or jumping ahead of myself.
I am going to be very honest, as I have been thus far, except what I say may really offend a lot of people… and I am not going to apologize. I believe in freedom of speech, not politically correct speech. I believe I have a right to say what I believe and – if it offends you – please feel free to stop reading now and leave this site immediately. This is for the rest of us who do believe in our constitution as it was written, not as it is currently being interpreted.
So here we go. I grew up in the Episcopal faith. Church this and church that. But I went home behind closed locked doors to – well, you know – you’ve been reading along. I believe there is a heaven and a hell. I been to hell figuratively on earth but did not buy the t-shirt. I believe in God and Jesus and salvation. I have studied many religions in my quest to reconcile my terrible fate as a child of abuse with God. I hated God for many years, and blamed Him for so long and cursed Him. But I made my peace with God. It is my personal journey of faith and spirituality. I won't really go into the details… it is not that pertinent really. What I do want to touch on are a couple of things that are significant for survivors of abuse:
It is very important to have a higher power to turn to for spiritual growth and support. If you feel angry with God, that is normal. I would encourage you to reconcile with God in your own timing. Be wary of fanatical Christians, or fanatical cults, even fanatical churches. Be wary of fanatics. Their fanaticism calls to mind insanity. Or the reverse, which is atheism, and that’s just denial altogether.
Churches often interpret the bible in their own way. The more spin they put on the bible (doctrine), then that becomes their own point of view to serve their own agendas, and the further away from God they can take you. I believe that very much. Be wary.
Some people get a disease, what I call: "Good Little Christianitis." You folks need a doctor, ok? You are doing God’s work Satan’s way. You are running off people like me – and other survivors of abuse – who want to be part of a group of believers but get thoroughly disgusted by the hypocrisy, dishonesty, pretense and snobby, holier-than-thou behavior you "G.L.C" carriers act like towards others. I have had more hurtful things said to me, been treated very badly by, snubbed by, and ostracized by "G.L.C."s. And I am one voice in countless voices who would agree with me, so snap out of it already. Hiding yourself as a Christian, hiding in Christianity does not make you better than anyone else. There are healthier ways to express your faith and healthier ways to build your self esteem. You certainly don't fool me, ok, I see past the smoke and mirrors.
"Bible Thumpers" spreading the gospel is not anything that I am against, ok, but can we keep this within reason as well? Have you ever had someone say: “God Bless You?” It’s kind a nice, right? But over and over, and in every conversation, does it always have to have scripture quoted… and praise the lord this and praise the lord that? I love God and I am thankful for all He has done to help me through this. I don't blame God anymore.
But please, “Bible Thumpers”, realize this one thing- my relationship with God is none of your damn business. It is my relationship, it is personal, and it is none of your business. BUTT OUT! All you are doing is pushing people – including those in incest recovery – away from God because they can't stand your fanaticism, ok? Get a Clue Please! You should really open your eyes to how people are affected by your insane behaviors.
I encourage fellow survivors of abuse to develop your spirituality. It can really be a source of comfort to you, and I encourage you to make peace with God. OK, It is your personal journey and your personal relationship (involves talking to each other). I wish you the best in working it all out. I can offer advice, but in this case I am going to say no more.
If you ever did want to go to church, about the only type of church I could ever attend – and not be completely turned off by – are the Bible Churches. A dear friend of mine is Baptist. I went to his church several times and enjoyed it quite a bit too. **In fairness, I want to add one thing- bad eggs can be found anywhere, so if your heart is pulling you to worship in a church setting… follow your heart. Just be careful.
But I rarely go. I pray and I am spiritual, but too much hurt has been done to me by G.L.C's and “Bible Thumpers”.
In Dallas, the Pastoral Counseling and Education Center – as well as The Family Place – are both great agencies to begin your counseling.
As an incest survivor, some really great books to read that helped me sort things out in this topic are:
Our God is Awesome- I enjoyed it, and I can't say that about a lot of religious material, if you get my drift.
A View From the Zoo- A very light and witty, easy read but – wow – I liked it a lot. My copy is completely falling apart but the short stories are so entertaining. I keep it around.
****The Shack- < - Read this one first.
Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, you will rise up again whole and renewed!