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
- eating disorders
- substance abuse
- somatic concerns
- dissociative patterns
- 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,
“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?
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Sig – Pope – after signature
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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
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.’