It is about the journey, not the destination. When I started this blog just over a month ago I put some thought into what it’s purpose was and thus chose the URL “fromabusedtojoy.com” to reflect that. On the home page I proclaimed “The Journey Begins” and invited readers to “Please join me on my healing journey”. Little did I realize the sobering truth in those words and the gravity that writing them down would have. C’est la vie.
It is turning out to be a journey, indeed; one in which I had hoped I was on the latter part thereof and had hoped I would be able to offer help and hope to others with similar experiences. Instead, I’m questioning my judgement, wondering what the hell was I thinking? Who wants to read this stuff anyway? Everybody wants to hide from it. Everybody. Well, maybe they are the ones who need to get over it and realize that this is an issue that affects many people and talking about it can be very therapeutic.
But this journey has taken me to yet another Celebrate Recovery meeting and the group discussion part had me pulling out my cell phone to take a picture. I’d like to share what tonight’s topic was (and I quote):
“Sexual/Physical/Emotional Abuse: The Problem. Our common background is a history of abuse and our goal is to enter into or maintain recovery. Recovery for me is a two-fold issue. I need healing from the traumas done to me at sometime in my past; and I also need healing from the influence these past experiences continue to have on my present life.
Most Survivors of Sexual/Physical/Emotion Abuse …
- Are hesitant to identify themselves as victims of abuse.
- Feel isolated, depressed, worthless, shameful and helpless to change.
- Are struggling with feelings about God in relation to their life experiences of being abused.
- Condemn themselves trying to deny that being abused in the past somehow affects present circumstances.
- Feel out of control; defeated in areas of compulsive behaviors.
- Feel angry, bitter, rebellious, and have trouble with authority figures.
- Feel a lack of self-worth.
- Are preoccupied with thoughts of what it means to have a “normal” relationship with others.
- Question their own sexual identity and may experience confusion regarding their own sexuality
- Question self-reality: “Who am I?”
- Question whether life has a purpose for living.
- Feel “at home” in crisis situations.
- Struggle with perfectionism or “all or nothing” thinking.
- Desire to have victory through Christ over the life experiences of abuse.”
Yeap. That about sums it up. I could relate to every single one of those, with one, tiny exception; “desire to have victory through Christ over the life experiences of abuse”. Seriously? That’s a new one that I’ve never heard before. But it was really impressive to me how dead on the rest of the description of the problem was. It gave me great hope thinking that if Celebrate Recovery understands the problem that well, perhaps the solution will be just as great. Here’s the proposed solution (and I quote):
“A survivor of Sexual/Physical/Emotional Abuse CAN EXPERIENCE RECOVERY WHEN…
- I recognize that I am powerless to heal the damaged emotions resulting from my abuse, and I look to God for the power to make me whole.
- I ask God to lead my life and working the 8 principles and 12 Steps.
- Form an Accountability TEAM: Sponsor, Accountability Partners.
- Weekly attend the Open Share Group.
- Commit to a daily quiet time in the Celebrate Recovery Bible to find my identity as worthwhile and loved human being.
- Read about this area of recovery.
- Understand the root of each core issue I identify with and become willing to experience grief, forgiveness, and acceptance.
- I acknowledge that God’s plan for my life includes victory over the experience of abuse. I move from being victim to a survivor!
- I understand that the persons who abused me are responsible for the abusive acts committed against me. I will not accept the guilt and shame resulting from those abusive acts.
- I am honestly sharing my feelings with God and at least one other person to help me identify those areas needing cleansing and healing.
- I accept responsibility for my responses to being abused.
- I am willing to accept God’s help in the decision and the process of forgiving myself and those who have perpetrated against me.
- I am willing to mature in my relationship with God and others.
- I am willing to be used by God as an instruments of healing and restoration in the lives of others.”
Not exactly sure how to communicate my thoughts except to say that all my excitement vaporized after reading “I am powerless to heal the damaged emotions resulting from my abuse”. Not sure I can identify which parts are of any meaning or much use after that. I reckon the message here is that not every recovery program is for everyone. But it still leaves me in a pickle; where am I to find my recovery?
I think my blog is inappropriately named. Perhaps ‘help’ would’ve been more fitting except that there isn’t the dialogue I was hoping for. Further, a question that I have is when does being open and honestly sharing one’s experiences/thoughts welcome healing? An argument can definitely be made that on a public forum may not be the best place, but that would be overlooking the most significant factor for me starting this blog was in the hopes of helping others to heal as well.
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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It has been great to meet and talk with you Matt… I look forward to reading long or short versions of any topic, story, thoughts or emotions you touch on.. I hope they help other survivors in their healing journey.. I know talking about it helps me.. be well !
The other day I shared a story on FB about losing two teeth in an accident, and someone said everything isn’t everyone’s business. I said, it was a burden and shame I was holding onto and I no longer wanted to carry it. God told me to turn over my burdens and turn them into … Continue reading Tamirra H.
In reaching out to others, you are Christ’s hands. It takes courage and broad shoulders. I will continue to pray that the Holy Spirit guide those open hands into a thriving ministry…Don’t let yourself fail prey to discouragement. It may be your calling. God bless you!