Question for You

I have a favor to ask of you, because perhaps you can help me out.

For all my adult life, I’ve been trying to overcome the negative effects of severe childhood abuses that includes, as a kid, being repetitively sexually molested by a, previously known by the Church, child molesting priest.

The well documented long-term psychological effects for many survivors of sexual abuse include but are not limited to:

  • moderately high levels of depression
  • post traumatic stress disorder
  • guilt
  • shame
  • self-blame
  • eating disorders
  • substance abuse
  • somatic concerns
  • anxiety
  • dissociative patterns
  • repression
  • denial
  • sexual problems
  • relationship problems
  • learned helplessness
  • weak religious faith due to lost trust in priesthood, Church, and God (if committed by a religous authority figure)

Though professionals acknowledge that the effects never ‘go away’, I’ve been successful, to at least some degree, at mitigating these effects as they apply to me. I think I’ve been doing all the right things as much as possible for me, and even utilizing many resources available to help in that regard: spirituality, support groups, doctors both medical and psychologists, formal ‘classes’ on life skills, reading, etc. And these resources, perhaps unfortunately, are still necessary for my well being. I’ve come a long way, but the negative effects have been at much cost. Take ‘cost’ any way you’d like, because regardless how you take it, you’re right. Still, I’ve learned a lot and am continuing to learn.

But I can’t help but feel, sometimes more than others, that I’m not where I need to be. And it’s not just a feeling, because the evidence shows that, too. In particular is the damaged relationships even still, the severe depression that can be overwhelming, and the debilitating despair. Sometimes this despair has been and continues to be life threatening; literally. Since I’m into astronomy, I call it despair’s black hole; where I’m stuck in the event horizon that threatens to pull me in past the point of no return. Despair fearing that, despite my best efforts, I’ll ‘never ‘get it’; that real change is as elusive as understanding ‘true’ Love, or understanding, what even astronomers don’t understand, what’s inside that black hole; that the pain and suffering just will never go away; that there’s no hope.

One friend, a fellow survivor of clergy abuse, recently said ‘the biggest damage caused by the molestation is not the molestation itself, but it’s the pain and suffering that he put himself through.’ Regardless to what extent that’s true, I acknowledge that, yes, I’m responsible for my own healing. But time and time again, just when I think I’ve reached that plateau of being able to put ‘it’ all behind me, I experience a trigger or triggers that have the effect of putting me right back into that very dark place. Am I just too dense, too stubborn, too set in my ways to ‘get it’? Surely, there’s a way out? Right? Or could it be that the alternative is one way to experience a more complete sense of joy? One way to return my energy back to the universe that created me? One way to make a positive out of a negative by changing the equation? I don’t know.

This leads to my question for you and you can either post a comment, or send me a private message using the ‘contact’ feature.

The question is: what do you think is the most important thing I can do to further my healing journey? Or, maybe not even the most important thing, but what do you think is something I can do to further my healing journey? What can I do that I haven’t already, to just ‘get over it’?

So many people seem to think it’s just a decision, and maybe it is. Again, am I just too dense to ‘get it’? Perhaps, I need to hear that too, again.

Don’t be surprised if I write about it, but I will ask for permission first if able, and keep you anonymous.

Thanks for reading.

Wishing you much love and peace,

Matt

“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

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.

Ps: Have words of encouragement or a testimony to share? Does/has this blog helped you in some way? Know of additional, valuable resources? Suggestions for topics? Post a comment or you can also send me a private message by using the “Contact” page on my website or message me on FB.

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?

Not signed up? Please do. Look for the “Follow” link and complete the information requested. 

Sig – Pope – after signature

ALL CONTENTS COPYRIGHTED 2019-2021 © by H. Matthew Casey, @Journey from Abused to Joy, https://fromabusedtojoy.com/gallery, journeyfromabusedtojoy@gmail.com. All rights reserved. No part of any entry/blog may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the name of the author – H. Matthew Casey, number1advocate, @Journey from Abused to Joy – and a clear link back to this blog: https://fromabusedtojoy.com

TESTIMONIALS:

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

Anonymous

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.

UK

‘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.’

spatula3

15 thoughts on “Question for You

  1. Hi Matt, it’s my absolute pleasure. I’m happy I was able to convey the message. It felt like so much at once. I had to learn how to handle my emotions again, and once I did, my world flipped upside down, and I had to turn it right side up. There are so many times where I’m begging out to God like, alright, now I don’t have to experience everything. Still, it’s moments like this that remind me that I did have to experience everything bc that would be the only way I could understand where someone was coming from. With healing myself, it was placed on my heart to help others. I started a life coaching business, and everyone can’t understand why I wouldn’t charge people. I said I couldn’t profit off of ppl trying to find their way home. I would love to share the site with you; this way, you know if you ever decided to reach out, you weren’t an inconvenience. Our darkness loves to play that trick on us too.

    Coachingjustintime.com

    Wishing you all of the best and wishing you peace.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I admire your strength to push through. I dont think it’s something that you get over. I think it’s something easier to deal with. You call your place a black hole; I call mine the rabbit hole. When i’m thrown in, I spiral out of control with massive anxiety, but I have people that allow me to ramble until it makes sense. Do you have that type of person? Usually, while I’m in that hole, I realize nothing that I feel is based on reality. I’m just allowing the emotions to take hold without being logical.

    How would you define healing, and where is it that you want to be in the end? I’ve found without having a clear idea of what the end looks like, you’ll never be able to get there.

    What do your thoughts say when you’re in that hole? Are you able to look at them for what they are? I think that our souls pull us back into the darkness to heal our shadow parts, but a lot of the time, we’re too afraid to look at what it’s trying to show us.

    You don’t need to be anywhere except where you are, I get anxious too, like I’m supposed to figure it all out magically, and i’m supposed to do more—sometimes doing more looks like doing nothing and finding peace in that nothingness. Sometimes it’s diving into the things you love to do, i.e., writing, maybe creating in other ways. Something that keeps your mind in the present. What did you like to do as a kid before or even during this while this was happening to you, reconnect with that little boy, so he knows he’s safe with you. Write him a letter and ask him what he needs from you.

    Finding that creative space allows us to connect to yourself as you’ve been doing with your writing.

    The best advice I could give is don’t think of healing as this grand project you have to conquer, one thing at a time. When I started my journey, I began with shyness. I identified where it started, how it made me feel, and I released it. I gave myself goals to come out of my comfort zone.

    I forgave myself and others, but in doing that, I also walked away with my lessons. I couldn’t just say all is forgiven; I had to look at what I was forgiving.

    That’s what my rabbit holes teaches me that it’s up to me to learn from the darkness and decide how i’m going to show up.

    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 shamevi was holding onto and i no longer wanted to carry it. God told me to turn over my burdens and turn them into testimonies. What you’re doing right here is letting go of the pain and know that you’re helping others by sharing your story.

    Thank you for being open and honest and being vulnerable enough to say you need help.

    I think bad things happen to good ppl because they have a bigger calling on their life. And ppl do bad things to those ppl to disconnect them from God and themselves. Don’t be afraid to connect back to yourself or God.

    I hope this helped. If you want to talk more, you could reach out at tamirra.holland@coachingjustintime.com

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Tamirra, Thank you for your comment. At the moment all I can say is, ‘Wow!’ It seems clear to me that you get it; the pain and the struggles I mean. You’ve said a lot in your comment and I’m grateful you took the time to share your wisdom, too much for me to comprehend in this moment. I will be printing your comment and reading it regularly. I will definitely be checking out your blog, and may check in with you as I continue on my healing journey. Sounds like to me that you have a lot to offer.

      Thanks again.

      Wishing you peace,

      Matt

      Like

  3. This is a great question! I have written a page on my blog that gives a condensed version of my healing journey. Here is that page:
    https://ablogabouthealingfromptsd.com/how-to-heal-ptsd/

    My daughter is a licensed therapist. I visited her in 2017, after I’d had about twenty neurofeedback treatments for my PTSD. My daughter was so impressed by the positive changes she saw in me, that she went and got trained and licensed as a neurofeedback provider. So, based on my personal experience, my top answer to this question is: Neurofeedback, also known as NFT. But please, carefully check the credentials and reputation of the provider, before undergoing neurofeedback treatments. In the wrong hands, NFT can possibly do more harm than good.

    The therapist who did my neurofeedback treatments is in Amarillo, Texas. I have no idea where you are located, but my guess is that you aren’t anywhere close to the Texas panhandle. I live in eastern New Mexico, so I had to drive several hours each way for my treatments. But it was so worth it! Also, insurance does not cover NFT, so we went into some credit card debt for my total of thirty treatments. But it was so worth it!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. What is neurofeedback therapy and how does it work? Does it utilize cold laser (IR/cold laser) treatment? If so, I have a good unit that Matt is welcome to try using.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hello, I apologize for not replying to this sooner. There’s a lot going on in my family right now. I learned about Neurofeedback from a book called The Body Keeps the Score. I don’t think that lasers have anything to do with it. It has to do with brainwaves and electricity. I am sure that if you Google it, you will find a lot more information than I can give you at the moment.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Hello Linda Lee,

      I read your condensed version of your healing journey. Much of it was inspiring, some of it made me cry, literally. I’ve included some excerpts below of parts that I either can relate to the most, or convey parts of the message that I’m trying to get out to the ‘world’, to other survivors, loved ones of survivors, myself. I appreciate your references to various sources and plan to check them out, sooner than later. I’ve tried not to take anything out of context, but you will be the judge of that. Thanks for sharing your story. If anyone is interested in your condensed version of your story they can follow your link: https://ablogabouthealingfromptsd.com/how-to-heal-ptsd/

      Thank you for sharing intimate details of your life. My prayers for you and your husband. Keep the faith, as they say.

      Wishing you much peace,

      Matt

      Written by Lee/Lady Quixote:

      “… was a horrible, mind-warping, life-threatening experience …”

      “Too much of my life was crippled with gut-twisting anxiety and nightmarish panic attacks. Nothing I tried — deep breathing, positive thinking, counting my blessings, listening to music, mindfulness meditation, prayer, or “going to my happy place” — seemed to make much difference.”

      “… and talking with therapists, when I finally found a good one, was only helpful up to a point.”

      ““One important discovery is that self-help seems to be a key to recovery whether or not you receive treatment.””

      “… genes play a role, genetics cannot be the whole story … I believe the answer will ultimately be found in epigenetics, which has more to do with our environment than our blueprint.”

      The book reference: “WHY DO CHRISTIANS SHOOT THEIR WOUNDED? Helping (Not Hurting) Those with Emotional Difficulties by by Dwight L. Carlson, MD.”

      The book reference: “TRAUMA AND RECOVERY: The Aftermath of Violence – from Domestic Abuse to Political Terror by Judith Lewis Herman.”

      The book reference: “IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT: How Healing Relationships Change Your Brain and Can Help You Overcome a Painful Past by Patricia Romano McGraw. ~Modern brain imaging technologies have revealed that early childhood neglect and abandonment, as well as severe trauma occurring at any age, can damage the brain – by actually changing the brain’s structure and function.”

      This is why we can’t “just get over” certain types of trauma. Like a person paralyzed in a car crash, the traumatic event may be in the distant past, but the injury it caused is still present.

      “… the injured brain CAN HEAL – literally rewire itself – in the context of loving and affirming relationships!

      Shaming, shunning, or brow beating someone who is psychologically injured will only make matters worse. Would you whip a quadriplegic to get him to walk again? Of course not! The only humane and truly effective way to treat mental health issues is with compassion, respect, and loving care.”

      “This book explains why a crazy childhood will put you on the path to a crazy adulthood – and what to do about it.”

      “… if you are currently in a verbally or physically abusive relationship, or in a situation where your rights, desires, and needs are routinely discounted or ignored.”

      “~Trauma and loss can cause you to question the meaning and purpose of life.”

      “I was agnostic for many years, primarily because of the cruel abuses and self-seeking hypocrisy I’ve encountered in some “Christians.” However, I am far from perfect myself. I continue to struggle with my faith at times, because some of the tenets of Christianity do not make sense to me. But despite my intellectual doubts, the fact remains that when I encountered a God of Love and Light all those years ago, His wonderful presence was as real to me as anything I have ever experienced. This, along with the evidence of Intelligent Design, are just two of the many reasons why I am now a Christian believer.”

      “I respect everyone’s right to believe, or not, as each person sees fit. Some of my favorite people are agnostic or practitioners of non-Christian religions. However, based on the preponderance of the evidence in my life, I have decided to follow Christ Jesus as my Savior and Lord.

      17). Although I am leaving the best for last, The Holy Bible is first on my list, especially: Romans 10:8; Psalm 23:1-6; Psalm 30:1-12; Psalm 103:1-22; Isaiah 49:15-16; John 3:1-21; Romans 8:1-39; 1 Corinthians 13:1-13; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Revelation 3:19-20; and many other verses, most notably the spoken words of Christ.”

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It seems that you’re doing everything humanly possible to help yourself…you spend time with nature and I know you have creative outlets, and you help others. Prayer and meditation are very beneficial, but you know all this. There’s one thing that I’ve done that has been personally helpful to me.

    I spent some time thinking about the period in my life when I was happiest, most fulfilled, and believed I knew where I was headed in life. (Of course, life had other ideas, but that’s not the point.) I searched back in my memories for that person, and then I spent a lot of time thinking about the good qualities and natural abilities of that version of me. A very young me, as it turned out. Sometimes the things that happen to us are the result of our poor decisions, and we learn from those- as we should!…but other times, we have nothing to do with what happens, and the impact of being blindsided takes our feet right out from under us. Those events changed me, and I carried the damage a long time…mostly hidden. Those things were what I needed to get past, so I went back to before they happened. Who was I then, before I was changed? Then I started trying to bring her back, because I believed all I really needed was healing. I wanted to take back the me that (I felt) was taken away.

    Anyone who has suffered at someone else’s hand can be triggered, and I doubt that that ever disappears completely. I still get triggered, but not nearly as often, and it doesn’t bring days of dark clouds like before. I accepted that I can’t make the past disappear, but I could make it not matter so much. Try not to judge yourself, or measure your progress. It’s not a straight line, it’s always fits and starts and plateaus. Your journey is unique, there is no “right way”…there’s just your way. Praying that you will find the happiest of days ahead~

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Keep writing, Matt! It helps you. I’m also sending a private message later. Busy day ahead and Adoration tonight. Just remember that despair and depression are NEVER from God! They are the whisperings of the evil one who seeks to destroy your faith in yourself and, ultimately, your faith in God. See it for what it is and do not give in. You are made in the image of God and are his child in baptism. He will never forsake you. Whenever I say the Sorrowful Mysteries or pray the Stations of the Cross, I pray for you, as well as all the other victims. You are sharing in the Lord’s Passion with this struggle. When St. Paul asked for “the thorn in his side” to be removed, his answer was, “My grace is sufficient.” I have my own struggles and crosses to bear and, quite frankly, rarely feel any graces given in consolation. I just have to trust that they are given. That gets me through the day. May the peace of Christ be in all your hearts!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Hope to have time tonight, Matt. It’s been so hot that I’ve been really wiped before I come in and my head is toast. I’m sure you’ve been outside and understand that! I haven’t forgotten. Hugs!

        Liked by 1 person

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