Sounds good, doesn’t it? “Just let it go”. I agree. Just let it go. But there’s a problem with that. In spite of my best efforts to let it go, it seems to follow me where ever I go. I want to let it go, I try to let it go, but no matter what, it always comes back. Uncontrollable triggers fire off memories even in the best of times (see blog post “Here’s the Problem“)
It is a fact the longer abuse goes untreated, the more difficult it is to treat. Such is my experience. Not being an expert on the subject I can only guess as to why that would be true; old habits die hard, to put it simply. Years and years of practicing coping skills that helped us survive at the time are failing us miserably now. Years and years of “stinking thinking” ingrained in our brains.
Someone wrote to me ‘In reading your blog “Peace” questions came up. If the Holy Spirit had gifted you with Peace then would you even be thinking/ dwelling on the subject? And the other question is, if it was Joy that you have received from the Holy Spirit wouldn’t you be so joyful that your main focus would be on the present? The everyday tasks of life and nature and community?’
Those are excellent questions; questions I’ve been asking for decades. “Calgon, take me away!” But before we can answer the questions, they need a little bit of clarification.
First: When I was preparing for an upcoming ACTS retreat, I heard the Holy Spirit call me to tell my story. That lead to me writing a “testimony” which lead to me writing a book. LOL. That lead to me starting a blog. LOL. So, even if in this moment I am thinking/dwelling on it, is it with the blessing of the Holy Spirit and it brings me peace and joy to be doing the blog? Or was that feeling the catalyst for my desperate attempts to recover and hopefully help others as well. I don’t know that it matteres.
Second: I don’t believe victims deliberately think or dwell on their trauma. I know I don’t or didn’t. The trauma is so horrific that the only time I think about it is when outside triggers force me to. Literally. For example, when a Philadelphia grand jury released the names of 300 pedophile priests it made the news. Bam! Just like that it’s in my face. Relentless coverage. But then anytime something big like that hits the news, the bishop has to put his two cents in. Bam! It’s in my face again. And then the local priest has to say something about it, too. Bam! It’s in my face again.
Though they all mean well, the Pope, the Bishop, the priest I mean, they don’t even realize how shallow their words are. Or, maybe they do. Maybe they recognize that everybody just wants to get it out of their minds and not think about it or dwell on it. So they say a Mass. The masses are tricked into not having to find real solutions to the problem and can feel good about themselves that something has been done. But the joke is on the victims who need for action to be taken to help them deal with the fallout of the abuse.
But what about the decades where I didn’t think about it at all because I had suppressed the memories? I still suffered from many of the effects, just didn’t know why, or even think about it much. The longer trauma goes untreated the more difficult it is to treat.
But I do believe there is hope. Maybe not making the effects of the trauma go away, but at least in dealing with the issues head on. The result is that we victims/survivors improve the quality of our lives one step at a time.
Pope Francis, I appeal you to meet the needs of survivors of clergy sexual abuse by making reparations commensurate with the damage, emotional or otherwise, caused to survivors. I have ideas on how to do this. If you can’t do this, then I respectfully ask, on behalf of the Church, you to stop receiving communion until such time that the Church does. Because until the Church does, it will not be in communion with the saints. Sincere contrition is meaningless without reparations in kind. Demonstrate to the world that the Catholic Church is catholic; that is, the Church Jesus established with Peter as the rock, the first pope; that the Church practices what it preaches.
Thanks for reading.
Wishing you much love and peace,
“Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.” ― Mother Teresa
Consider sharing this blog with others. Victim/survivors of abuses, more often than not, carry this burden silently alone, not knowing how to deal with it or where to turn, but need hope. Loved ones and caregivers also need support. We never know who is or wants to reach out for help. This blog might be of help to caregivers and loved ones of abuse. Silence is deadly and if together we are able to help or save just one life, isn’t that worth it?
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Thank you for posting…Sharing intimate details is scary. Thank you for being so brave and for reaching out to others through this blog. I know much of your heart in this blog. Your openness and honesty is quiet beautiful. Thank you for sharing.
‘You make the reality of what you and other victims have suffered so very clear, but we all need to know that it happened. People want to help, we want to speak up and reassure, but sometimes, we just don’t know how. We are learning, hopefully. God bless you and your journey to complete peace.’
An excerpt from the blog The Effects of Sexual Abuse Never Go Away” – “ A child is likely to be left with strong feelings of anger, fear, shame, hurt and disappointment”. That’s some of the reasons why 45 years later I’ve never told my story. Yes, it’s hidden and yes it affects me to … Continue reading Anonymous