Monday, November 19, 2012

The Widening Chasm Part XVIII

“Did you remember to buy water?”
After the initial shock of the freezing and unsavory environment of Russia I gradually began to venture outside in trepidation; it’s not every day I see a youth in camis carrying an automatic rifle in my neighborhood.
Exploring the streets for scarce sources of food and water often in a state of discomfort and fear, I was frequently accosted by small Gypsy children begging me for money as drunk old women and men drank from bottles of vodka and urinated behind buildings on the sidewalk corners.
As I struggled to find my footing on the uneven broken sidewalks of downtown Moskva (Moscow) Jonathan, my husband was wholly absorbed in creating an empire. I was soon to learn that the travail on the streets of Moskva was insignificant compared to the internal turmoil churning within my soul.
The unrelentingly heavy gray skies blanketing the city reflected the emerging waves of loneliness pounding over my head, soaking me in anguish; though I journaled my thoughts and exercised daily I could not overcome the feeling of dread and foreboding.
Due to my inner conflict and the nightly noise of the city street, I slept restlessly in our small flat and often walked to the kitchen and looked through the window in the middle of the night to watch prostitutes standing on the corners in miniskirts, high heels and short fur coats climbing into cars in the subzero weather.
In a rare moment of sunlight we visited  an 11th Century monastery with two Russian companions from Jonathan’s office. During our tour I stepped aside and sat down alone on a bench in a secluded garden. A babushka (grandma) approached me and sat at my feet taking my hands in hers. She spoke to me in Russian saying that I was of God and asked me for a blessing. I comprehended what she said though I didn’t understand the language. Smiling, she blessed me and my family and kissed my hands. I gave her the only money I had in my pocket, one ruble; we cried together and she was gone.
Though on occasion I encountered pleasant strangers and shopkeepers, my daily life with Jonathan was emotionally draining for me. Each night when he arrived home I asked how he was doing; his response was always the same, “I’m tired.” This was the extent of his conversation with me. He didn’t ask about my day; he didn’t want to hear anything about my struggles.  I was starving for love, affection and attention; any conversation on his part would have been a comfort to me.
I was discouraged and began to fall into a depression over my loneliness and desperate need for contact.
Then at one of the extravagant office parties I met an American woman who told me that she was involved with a non-profit American organization that helps the half million orphans in Moskva. I attended a meeting with Robin and volunteered to visit one of the orphanages.
The ravages of communism were everywhere. Another layer of onion skins fell off . . . .
I learned that many of the children in the orphanages were institutionalized by their parents at the recommendation of their physicians. If a child were physically challenged in any way they were sent to an orphanage. When I timidly stepped through the doorway of one orphanage I was uncomfortable and reluctant to participate. However, after the children settled down with me I was able to sing along and play games with them.
I eventually found an orphanage for infants. The sweet angels were all lying face up in rows of wooden cribs. I discovered one little baby girl with big blue eyes. She stared up at the ceiling with no expression on her precious face. I bent over her crib and smiled at her; she responded with a tiny glimmer of hope in her beautiful eyes. I held Masha on my lap and sang to her; she hummed along with me. I did not want to leave her. I will always remember with sadness Masha’s stricken facial expression and our mutual tears when I placed her back in her crib. I cried for a week, then wrote a poem about Masha titled, “The Broken-winged Angel”; it was published in local newspaper.
While I was pulled out of my self-imposed isolation by becoming acquainted with a few Russian, American and European women my relationship with Jonathan continued to wane. He was not interested in being with me. I was simply a trophy wife at elaborate dinners with affluent and powerful international business men. The opulence and shallow party talk left me feeling empty and desiring deeper connections.
Jonathan and I often filled the void by attending opera and ballet and going out to dinner nightly. New restaurants from international companies were popping up everywhere in Moscow, teeming with businessmen and prostitutes.
Alcohol and shopping became my faithful companions while traveling to European countries. The more time I spent with Jonathan the worse my loneliness became; he and I weren’t connecting. I kept reaching out and receiving nothing in return except opulent hotels, lavish gifts and elaborate events.
When my anguish was unbearable I would fly home to California and stay for a few months; I began singing regularly in an upscale restaurant and found a new community of musician friends. Spending time with my children and girlfriends and seeking therapy, I felt comforted and experienced solace again.
“Why are you going back to Russia?” my psychologist asked me.
I longed for Jonathan’s presence and would return to Russia again and again, going through the same torturous experience. When we were together he shared very little of his thoughts, dreams or goals; he said that we would amass enough money to do whatever we wanted once we left Russia.
After repeated dreams of Jonathan involving himself in immoral activities, I accused him of having an affair with a female acquaintance of ours. He assured me that I was not thinking rationally; I regressed to using former vices to win him over.
I thought I had recovered from the sexual abuse of my childhood, but being in Russia made me realize that I had a lot more recovery work to do.
As the chasm between us grew I sank deeper into negative thoughts and feelings; I lost my way. I did what Jonathan did; we drank heavily to avoid discussing the obvious. Jonathan made it clear that he did not want to hear about my suffering; he continued to say that I needed to be patient and that we would leave together for California soon. His words became an empty promise as the date was continually postponed.
On my birthday after over two years of anguish I unleashed my pent-up rage and screamed at Jonathan in a hotel in Berlin; it culminated in a physical fight. I cried myself to sleep believing that our marriage was in ruins.
I gave up trying to create intimacy with Jonathan. During my recovery process from childhood sexual abuse I had repeatedly asked him to attend counseling with me; I wanted to help heal our marriage. He repeatedly told me that I was the one who needed help and that he had no need to change.
In retrospect I realize that our entire focus during our 25 year marriage had been on our children. Now that they were all in college and we were living thousands of miles from any family or friends Jonathan was content to focus on his aspiring career; clearly our situation in Russia was not working for me !
Then one day I discovered a book that changed the course of my life . . . 
I awakened to a new realization that no amount of my energy could ever heal our relationship because Jonathan was not willing to acknowledge his part in our dysfunction. He was draining me of everything good and I was allowing him to do so.
At this moment I knew I could no longer live in this agonizing environment; I was destroying my soul. 

I loved Jonathan but could not restore our relationship; with a broken heart I packed up all of my personal belongings and flew home.
The journey home was abundant with enlightening signs . . . .

Quicksand Part XVI

scraping tarmac
intimidating masks
gray, all is gray
shuffling human traffic
dreadful customs
face of my love
bodyguards waiting
swerving racing traffic
noxious fumes
incessant honking
littered streets
soulless faces
climbing uneven stairs
7th floor
dingy flat
sour moldy walls
ravenous intimacy
opened suitcase
Bolshoi ballet
Romeo and Juliet

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Transforming Heart Part XVI

Breaking my nails on the edge of the cliff and spitting out dirt I clumsily climbed out of the dark bottomless pit as my memories were ripped out of my soul. 

I had “tunnel vision.”

I could only focus on my recovery. Everything in my life related to my childhood abuse and my desperate need to heal. Even though I began to function again in my family unit my recovery was my first thought in the morning and last thought at bedtime. Nightly I prayed that I wouldn’t have another nightmare; I wanted to sleep peacefully for a change.
When I ventured outside of my home and tried to share with close friends what I was experiencing I didn’t receive the support I had expected. Instead, I was shocked and hurt by their negative responses. I began to realize that my subject was not welcomed among family or friends including my husband.
Jonathan continued to do what he always did best; work and stay away. Sometimes he listened but didn’t have anything to say in response. At one point he questioned my memories; I immediately did not feel safe around him. Later he told me that his “friend” Sheri went through similar abuses and “she is recovered!” This was a low blow !
My heart was so wounded from betrayal from every side; I cried my heart out to God to heal me !
One day I bought a punching bag, hung it up in my garage and began to pound out my anguish. I screamed against all of the forces of darkness that presented themselves; I saw how they held me and my family captive. I continued my venting until I broke blood vessels in my fingers. I went inside, exhausted. The phone rang a few minutes later; a survivor friend saying that she just had a vision: I was surrounded by thousands of angels fighting a spiritual battle with me !
As I gained confidence that I was worthy of love I began to move away from my self-sabotaging behavior. My heart began to soften toward others suffering and my desires began to shift. Through therapy I found  other survivors and felt supported for the first time. 
I wanted  to experience support and healing in my marriage relationship. Instead, a great chasm began to grow between my husband and me. Even though I tried to ignore it, I sensed that we were separating spiritually. I wanted to be whole and healthy while he wanted to continue his sabotaging behavior.
We were like two alcoholics in a bar; each taking turns getting drunk. I finally sobered up and saw how drunk he really was. He still sat in the bar. I couldn’t convince him to leave the bar so I found more positive things to do for myself and stopped going with him.
I loved him and didn’t want to leave him. So I continued to ignore all the signs.
One morning while watching the news together Jonathan said, “I just saw us in Russia!” 
“Why couldn’t you have said Switzerland?”
I knew then that our life was taking an entirely new direction . . . 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My MOTHER, my LIFE, my ENEMY ! Part XV

RELENTLESS open wounds of rejection and abandonment still bear their mark on my soul causing me doubts, grief and lamentations.
I have been repeatedly inundated with dreams of rejection from my former spouse.  

HE is the representation of my MOTHER.
I have been avoiding facing this important TRUTH in my life.
The need to pull away from the past . . . . moving forward into the unknown . . .
I married my childhood sweetheart, the man of my dreams, my knight, my everything, my SAVIOR.
When I opened the box and all of the TRUTH began pouring out like a fountain that I could not stop even if I tried, it broke through my illusion of being in the perfect relationship.
I know this will sound strange to all of you who have read my history; but it is true. I was completely and utterly blinded by my own theatre, my own drama that I had created to stay SANE !
HE was perfect; I was inferior, deeply flawed. HE gave me audience when I begged. HE gave me gifts, trips, jewels, parties, everything, everything EXCEPT unconditional LOVE.
HE is SHE.
MOTHER, life - giver, SAVIOR, PROTECTOR . . . . JUDGE
SHE gave me life.
SHE bathed me.
SHE prayed over me every night. SHE told me she loved me.
SHE dressed me beautifully every Sunday for Sunday school.
SHE attended all of my performances; at schools, churches, communities . . .
SHE sat in the back and listened to every note I sang, every word I spoke.
SHE sat in the back and listened to every note I played, every single note . . .
ME . . . struggling to live UP to her standard. A STANDARD I could not understand.
WHY didn’t she really LOVE me ???
WHAT had I done by age three to have earned her judgment and disdain for me ? Why did she push me away ? What wouldn’t she cuddle me, support me, look at me ?
I could never do enough to get her attention.
BEST in everything . . . yet none of it was good enough to wipe away my soiled soul !
SHE would not accept me; I was NEVER good enough for HER !
Now I understand.
I was HIS favorite, HIS love, HIS pet.
JEALOUSY . . . . . so ugly, so defiling, so twisted !
My mother was jealous of the attention my father gave me.
He was Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. 
One day, gifts, parties . . . the next . . . . the unspeakable acts of sexual assault on my body and my soul.
Oh, this twisted, complex and devious scar that wants to keep its roots in me . . . I am tearing it out . . . ripping it out . . . daily begging for healing. The assuaging of my soul into the heavenly realm of wholeness.
I cannot think one continuous thought about this tangled web existing in my innermost being.
WHY is it still dwelling here ???
MOM, demented at age 92 is still here for one very good reason.
I am being taught piece by piece, line upon line, moment by moment to FORGIVE her.
She obviously was not aware of her subconscious thoughts of judgment and jealousy toward me.
To this day, MOM is still simple-minded.
What are her wounds ??? Was she also assaulted as a child ? She will never know; she will never say.
MOM, sweet and simple to all the world . . . except me.
I forgive you mom for not being present to protect me.
I forgive you mom for not keeping me safe.
I forgive you for turning your back on me.
I forgive you for staying with dad and allowing all of us to be repeatedly harmed.
I forgive you for putting on your SUNDAY face and pretending all is well when it isn’t.
I forgive you for not being able to say that I am sweet, and lovely, and intelligent, and gifted, and that you love me just the way I am.
Please, LOVE, fill this deep void of mother-love, with your unconditional, ever-present, all-knowing, all-protecting LOVE.
Fill my deep desire to be LOVED with Your DIVINE LOVE.
FOREVER and ever.
Your faithful daughter 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Priceless Pearl

“Tomorrow is not going to work as other plans have come up.”
The text from my cousin Sue left me numb; then anger swiftly followed.
For the past year we had been planning to get together this week.  Sue wanted the entire family to join us for a reunion. I gently suggested that she either send a flyer, an email or make phone calls to insure that everyone could be with us. I asked if I could help. Sue said that she would take care of everything; we just needed to show up Sunday afternoon.
A few days before the reunion date, she posted on FB that they were coming this week, gave the location and asked that everyone attending bring a side dish.
Only one of my children and her family were able to make it because of short notice and an absence of an invitation by Sue. My brother decided at the last minute not to come; my sister arrived two hours late.
As Sue and I were visiting she asked me if I had taken the week off. I said, “No.”  I was caught off-guard by her question because we had never discussed this possibility as I am a full-time nanny for two of my grandchildren. We made arrangements for a beach day the following morning, establishing a specific time. It was a long morning for me preparing for the day with two little ones underfoot.  When we were within 10 minutes of the bay I received a text saying, “Taking a bike ride; will be back soon.”
Irritated, annoyed.
I arrived with two babies, an umbrella, two beach bags filled with food, clothes, toys, diapers, sunscreen, beach towels and blanket in hand with NO help. We managed to make it to the bayfront. I set up everything and put on their floaties. We played in the fresh, cool water and sand when my cousins finally arrived and hour later. My older cousin Joe and his wife barely said, “Hi.” They spoke of their plans with Sue for an evening ball game, then left. Sue got on her swimsuit and came to the waterfront. We focused on my darling grandkids. The water was perfect so I let go of my irritation with her.
After about 10 minutes, Sue went up to the house for awhile.  When she came back she said that the rest of the family was going over to the ocean. She stayed another 10 minutes, and left again to do something. When Sue came back she mentioned that they were going to barbeque hotdogs for lunch. I said, “Ok.” I had already packed healthy snacks for the babies. When we finally sat down inside their rental after cleaning up, Sue said that she would make sandwiches since everyone else had left for the beach.
She and I made plans to meet the following evening after work with my son, wife and grandkids so that everyone could visit together. After this conversation the kids and I left. 
I felt slightly anxious on the way home and disregarded it.
I awakened early this morning to Sue’s brief text regarding a change in their plans which didn’t include me or my family. I felt angry and didn’t know why.  After I expressed my anger with my husband I began to cry. I said that I felt worthless around my family. Then I recounted that when we were at the reunion not one asked how I was doing. Instead they asked about my brother who wasn’t there. I said. “I don’t know; he doesn’t respond to my calls. They all referred to me as EILEEN though I have told everyone for years that my name is CELESTE.
A heavy weight of heartache and anxiety pressed upon my chest all morning. I kept wanting to resolve the conflict and restore everything to harmony. But a voice inside of me reminded me that her behavior was selfish and disrespectful.
I asked myself, “Why do I feel anxious when I am in conflict with a family member or friend ? Why do I feel compelled to restore peace and harmony ? Why do I overlook offenses and inappropriate behavior ? Why do I always need to make everyone feel okay and not share how I feel when I am offended ?”
Survival !
This reaction kept me alive.
After my dad raped and sodomized me he would force me to clean up all of HIS mess and say that I had to put EVERYTHING back in place or he would KILL me. Dad was a powerful figure in the ritual abuse cult; I believed his word. He was respected by all cult members, including those from our church. Even though painful, torturous and frightening things occurred to me and other innocent victims I felt SAFE as long as I was near him. No matter what they forced me to do, my dad was nearby protecting me from death. I had witnessed too many murders not to believe that my life was in danger.
I was a slave to the whims of evil souls !

No wonder I had such severe anxiety and anger when Sue sent me a text changing plans with my family. I felt disrespected and rejected. My word is important to me and I tend to have high expectations of others that they are the same way. I took her behavior as meaning that I am not valued, not important to her as my cousin.

I am afraid of being rejected because my wounded parts think we may die !

As an adult I know this is a lie. I need to be patient with my wounded parts and continue to journal my memories and feelings surrounding them. 

Contrary to the horrors I experienced at the hands of my father and cult members, I am of great value and worthy of respect. This begins with me. Learning to respect myself is difficult yet possible. I am learning to set boundaries with others and if necessary separate myself from those who continue to violate them in my presence.

I am encouraged that I am finding the hidden wounds and able to courageously face them that they may be examined in the LIGHT and healed.

In the sight of God I am a perfect and priceless pearl.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Emerging from the Darkness Part XIV

“Pastor Ron raped me in front of my friends !”
“He did the same thing to me,” Donna responded.
The same perpetrators were involved for decades in the torturous and terrifying abuses of many of us young victims !
My father participated with the perpetrators from our church in the abusive rituals though he did not attend the church. He had become friends with Ron, the youth minister because we lived directly across the street from the church. My father often flew teenagers from church in his airplane as a reward for winning contests organized by Ron.
As I shared memories in my new ritual abuse therapy group with people from my former church, we were able to corroborate the specifics of our ritual abuse. I soon released my self-doubt that any of my nightmarish memories were created in my imagination.
Desiring to further confirm our ritual abuse horrors, two women, one man and I drove to a town in our county where much of our victimization occurred. Passing through one particular area I suddenly experienced a vivid memory associated with a nauseous odor from hen houses. Regressing to the age of a three year old I crawled onto the backseat floor and shook with fear for several minutes. As we continued to share memories during our drive, we were able to corroborate the perpetrators and the locations involved, though my experiences had occurred twenty years prior to their abuses. We discussed the fact that each of us had chosen individual therapy with Martha, yet none of us was referred by anyone we knew. A Power great than ourselves was working out a Divine plan for our healing !
For the first time in my life I experienced faith in God’s love for me; I began to feel worthy of love. My confidence in myself slowly increased as I continued to apply the therapeutic process, utilizing the tools of individual and group therapy, journaling, prayers, The 12-Step Program, and literature regarding sexual abuse and healing. Catharsis permeated my soul as I embraced the truth about my childhood and began to release the negative thoughts such as shame, guilt and self-loathing I had harbored in my heart. As my nightmares and insomnia decreased I began to function within my family unit, participating in activities and daily life.
A shift subtly took place in my marriage.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Consuming Abyss (Warning: Triggering) Part XIII

“I’ll protect you,” I cried.
Knowing the tiny kittens would soon be killed, I tried hiding a box of them in the bathroom at my grandma’s house.
Grandma was a locally known medium, practicing levitations and séances. My mother once told me that she had participated in some of grandma’s group sessions.  Grandma listened to spirits and wrote down what she heard. She sold real estate, planted her garden and even had her hair done according to the writings. She was both respected and feared in her community.
To me her home was an evil dwelling of unspeakable horrors!
When I was three years of age my father took me to my grandma’s home for the weekend. During the ensuing abusive experience, grandma demanded that I participate in killing a kitten with a butcher knife. Because I couldn’t bear harming anything and wouldn’t cooperate I was placed in a tiny wooden box with pieces of the cut-up animal and was left in the garage for hours during the night. I was naked, terrified and shivering in cold fear.
During another memory Cassandra, a five year-old part of myself endured the painful and disgusting sexual abuse at the hands of my grandmother, grandfather and father.
Two little girls, other parts of myself stood together shaking with fear while we watched Cassandra perform what we couldn’t do.
As these nightmarish memories appeared I relived the physical and emotional feelings associated with them. Living in state of constant panic, I became paranoid of everyone and everything around me; each thought triggered another terrifying anxiety attack, creating continued insomnia.
I regressed emotionally into a terrified five year-old and was barely able to care for my children.
While laying in bed one morning I heard my sister’s voice in the entryway of our home; I hid under my bed, shaking in fear.
She shouted to Jonathan, “My sister is dead ! I’ve come to take our family belongings !”
He grabbed her arm as she tried to run out the front door with my grandma’s crystal candlesticks she had taken from our dining table.
My life was out-of-control and I couldn’t stop the train wreck taking place. I prayed constantly and tried to apply the 12-Step Program to maneuver through these agonizing times. I renamed God, LOVE because I couldn’t associate HIM with my own father. I found some peace at times, but continued to have nightmares and memories.
Thankfully, LOVE gave me Martha, a kind, intuitive and wonderful Christian counselor who believed me and supported me through my difficult discoveries and healing journey.
Even though the pictures I saw were vivid I had an extremely difficult time believing myself when my memories began involving killing animals. Other family members also participated with grandma in the killing of chickens, rabbits and cats, and drained their blood and excrement into a black pot on the floor of her garage. I still couldn’t comprehend why they were doing these terrible things.
When my flashbacks switched to seeing myself and others violently and sexually abused by the ministers and members of my home church I came to an understanding of the term, ritual abuse. Known religious symbols as well as masks as props were often used for their torturous events.
I was certain that I was crazy.
During one therapy session I kept telling Martha that none of these unbelievable memories could have taken place; surely someone would have noticed and informed authorities in the local community.
Martha then gently asked me if I would consider attending a group meeting with other survivors of ritual abuse. Though I was hesitant I agreed to attend.
When I arrived at her therapy group I was surprised to find several familiar people from my home church in the room !
For the first time I knew that my nightmares and flashbacks were real . . .

Friday, April 13, 2012

Pits of Hell (Warning: Triggering) Part XII

“Tell me about your dream last night,” Martha gently stated.
How could she have known that I had a terribly disturbing nightmare that was haunting me hours later ?
Looking down from the ceiling I see a writhing naked child lying face up bound by ropes to the four corners of an old wooden table in a dimly lit room. Black-hooded demons surround her chanting words she can’t understand. Horror permeates every cell, her skin is burning.
SHE is me !
I am terrified, trapped inside this painful body ! Why are they hurting me ? Help me, Jesus !
SHE is 5. SHE has no thought, no name, no life except to be used by THEM.
Now I see from the vantage point of the table that something alive hanging from the ceiling is dripping on me. Bloody tail, bloody pee. Poor sweet kitty. She is good. THEY are bad, very very bad !
Horror !
I am crouching against the sofa sobbing on Martha’s office floor. This couldn’t be true ! I am crazy, shaking with fear, I am imagining things; terrible, scary things.
Martha’s eyes are sweetly sad and comforting but not what I can receive.
“This couldn’t have been me,” I cried.
Martha nods her head.
Thus begins the first of many horrifying memories of abuse at the hands of my father’s mother, a hateful old woman who orchestrated and inflicted pain and dread beyond words . . .

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Facing My Perpetrator Part XI

“I’ll never admit to that,” my father said while jingling his keys and looking at the floor.
When I returned home from the inpatient facility I was much stronger and knew that I had more healing ahead of me. I told Martha, my counselor that I wanted to confront my father about the incest. She was supportive and helped me set up an appointment for all of us to meet in her office.
Before we left Jonathan prayed with me. I was trembling yet determined to face my abuser and let him know that I remembered what he had done to me during my childhood. During our prayer Jonathan had a vision of me rocking a little baby in my arms. This picture gave me the support I needed to stand up to my father.
When we arrived I saw my mother perfectly coiffed in a black and white suit with black pumps walking with my father up the stairs to Martha’s office. As I walked with Jonathan I carried a tiny blond, green-eyed baby doll I named Susie-Q, a reflection of myself as an innocent child. When we sat down together in her office Martha said, “Eileen has something to share with you.”
“Daddy, you molested me,” I said, shaking inside.
He looked away and down at the floor stating that he would “never admit to that.” Those words hurt the little child so deeply my heart sank deeper than the floor. No rage, only deep deep sadness. I knew then that I would carry this stand-off for the rest of my life.
“I was always there,” my mother retorted, self-righteously.
“You worked every day, mom,” I cried.
That was all they said. That’s it, nothing else. I looked at Martha and her eyes showed such love and compassion toward me that I kept myself from sobbing in front of them.
I don’t remember much except feeling dejection and abandonment as they both walked out of Martha’s office.
Once at home I climbed back into bed. I don’t know how long I stayed there; but the bottom had dropped out. It felt like the end of the world for me. I didn’t know if I could carry this pain any longer.
“I doubted you before, but I believe you now,” Jonathan said after seeing my dad’s reaction to my statement.
At least Martha and Jonathan believed me. I felt a glimmer of hope. I was so exhausted from the uphill battle; the waves of fear, anxiety, insomnia, anger and grief had only just begun for me.
Then the next wave arrived.
I began receiving threatening calls from my siblings calling me names like witch, crazy and liar; then threats on my life ! I couldn’t believe my ears. I didn’t think it would come to this !
Time time time timelessness . . . . no more sense of time . . . just tears, agony, nightmares, grief,fear, anger, insomnia, anxiety, hopelessness . . . on and on and on . . .it felt like an eternity before I could breathe again.
Just when I thought I was climbing out of the depths of despair, another wave hit me even harder . . . 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Horrifying Flashbacks ! Part X

"You’re a victim of sexual abuse.”

Dr. Osama told me that he could feel the spirit of victimization from the waiting room. This was my first visit; he didn’t know me or my history. At this time I only remembered being raped. When he said this, I started feeling uncomfortable about my father.
A few nights later, Jonathan started being intimate with me. As soon as he did I screamed, “Get off me!”
I felt my father on top of me; I could smell his alcoholic breath on my face. I was horrified when this sordid memory overwhelmed my body and mind. Jonathan immediately left our bedroom. I was completely devastated; my whole world caved in on me at the age of 38.
I couldn’t sleep; I was shaking.
I pulled the covers over myself in the morning and cried. My heart was completely crushed; my life felt like splintered glass on a tile floor. One flashback and my world completely changed. I understood now why I was always so uncomfortable around my dad.
Shortly after this memory I was eating dinner with my children and husband. Suddenly I felt my dad’s hand on my inner thigh and I started to panic. Nauseated, I quickly left the table.
In counseling I didn’t want to talk about my flashbacks so I focused on my unfaithfulness. Dr. O tried to talk with me about my marriage. I didn’t want to talk about Jonathan. I felt defensive because I had already stopped having affairs and thought that our destructive behavior was behind us.
Dr. O was able to see things I didn’t yet remember. One day he asked me who had made a blood sacrifice for my soul. My grandmother was standing beside me in a black cloak; I was two years old. I didn’t understand at the time what I was seeing.
Another session Dr. O asked me who else was molested in my family. I saw several family members standing in a circle. This picture horrified me even more. I may not have been the only victim in my family !
Not long after these pictures invaded my life my anxiety and insomnia escalated and I stopped caring about anything. Everything became a blur to me. I don’t remember much during this season in my life except the harsh reality of being a victim of childhood sexual abuse. I seldom worked at our architectural firm and was barely able to keep up with household routines. Faith was suffering with her eating disorder; Hope was involved with a troubled boyfriend; and John, our 12 year old son was enjoying his newly found freedom.
When I tried to share with Jonathan what I was remembering he was silent and within minutes would head back to the office.
I felt so alone, worthless, ashamed and disgusted.
Because I was too uncomfortable to talk about sexual abuse with any male I changed counselors. I was referred to Martha Bates a family therapist. I thought I could put the abuse behind me now and talk about my family issues. 
Was I ever wrong !
When Martha gently began asking about my childhood I had my first flashback in her office. I was six years old. My hair was in two braids. I told Martha that it couldn’t have been me because I never had long hair. She asked me to find a picture of myself at that age. I had to contact my mother and casually ask if she had any pictures of my childhood because I never saw any. My mom dropped off a file with less than a dozen pictures of my childhood.
There I was with braids at age 6 sitting on a bicycle !
I took the picture to Martha’s office. Again she gently asked me what happened. The entire scene unfolded before me. I was in my bedroom with my dad. I was sitting on his lap and he was forcing himself in me. Mom was in the kitchen. When he left my room, I banged my head on the wall and threw a huge tantrum; mom ignored me.
Each counseling session I would see a picture and try to dismiss it as my imagination. Martha assured me that I was telling the truth about what I saw happening to me.  My memories often came like an old slide show, usually one or two individual scenes at a time in no chronological order. When I saw the scene I regressed to the age I was at that time and felt the terrifying, disgusting and often painful feelings. Sometimes I would curl up in a ball on her office floor. Martha, an angel always managed to comfort and support me before I went home.
Because my life was becoming more and more unmanageable Martha referred me to an inpatient facility.
I had intense individual and group therapy daily. We women were sheltered from the outside world. Because we were all victims of childhood sexual abuse we created a strong bond and were able to share what memories we had at this time. The counselors worked with us to talk about our memories and express our anger. I was told by the psychiatrist that I may have bipolar tendencies; this really scared me because I thought that I must be crazy. I refused the medication that he suggested. He also told me to stop smiling like I was at a perpetual tea party. I had to carry around a mirror for a few days to see the emotional pain in my own eyes.
One evening in group therapy, one of the women started to share what happened to her at the hands of several perpetrators. I suddenly started screaming and screaming, and couldn’t stop. I felt like I was experiencing a level of terror inside me that would kill me; I frightened myself by my hysteria. Afterward for days I felt completely disconnected from my body; my mind was racing out of control with unending fragmented thoughts !
Just when I thought I couldn’t live through this nightmare my thoughts gradually slowed down and some of my anxiety was eased. After a few more weeks I became calmer. Finally it was time to leave. Driving home with Jonathan I wondered what my life would be like now.
It didn’t take very long for me to make a decision.
I wanted to face my dad . . . .

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Self-Destructive Path Part IX

“I’m in love and want a divorce !”
I had met a younger man at work; he flirted with me and suggested we meet. I acted impulsively and met him at his apartment. I became intoxicated with Matt and our affair. After three months, I blurted out to Jonathan that I was in love with another man. I wanted to arouse his attention. His reaction shocked me !
Sarcastically, Jonathan retorted, “You don’t know what love is.  I’ll be sure you won’t get your kids. Everybody knows you’re crazy !”
I was angry and hurt and became even more reckless, involving myself in several affairs over a period of 6 years. Each time I swore to myself that I wouldn’t do it again. I felt ashamed of myself, but couldn’t seem to stop. I wanted to be desired, the one thing my husband wouldn’t demonstrate. I continued my self-destructive behavior clandestinely while behaving like a perfect wife and a mother. My lifestyle also affected my job since two of the men worked in the company. My self-esteem and body image sank to a new low. I became dangerously thin and continued to have chronic nightmares, anxiety and insomnia.
During this time, Jonathan completely ignored me and focused on his successful architectural career. He often had business meetings out-of-town with clients, many of whom were women that he said were his friends. Later I found out differently. I still loved Jonathan and felt like a failure as a wife. I exercised daily and kept myself lean, hoping he would show desire for me. Nothing worked.
We continued to participate in activities with our kids and other families. Our children were becoming successful in all of their music lessons, dance, sports and education. When they were in high school we moved to a larger home with a beautiful pool in our backyard. I made a decision to stop involving myself with other men. Our family life improved. We were kinder to each other and had dates together.
Then everything suddenly changed.
While on a family vacation with another family we heard frightening news about our daughter from her closest friend.
Faith was bulimic.
I had never before even heard this term so I researched to find out about this dangerous eating disorder. I couldn’t imagine why Faith would want to harm herself when she was so beautiful and talented in every way. She was my perfect child, an excellent student, pianist, artist, and dancer. It just didn’t make any sense to me. 
My perception of having the perfect family dissolved overnight.
When we forced Faith into an inpatient program for eating disorders she stopped talking to either of us. After a week in family therapy, I began experiencing a higher level of anxiety and insomnia. We learned that 86 percent of people with eating disorders had been molested at some point in their lives. I started worrying, but couldn’t figure out what was bothering me.
Within that week a close friend handed me a book on INCEST, stating that I might find it interesting.  I immediately read the book and started shaking with panic. Because I couldn’t sleep, I sought counseling and found Dr. Osama, a psychologist.
Meeting him that first day forever changed my life . . . 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Raped ! Part VIII

“Please don’t do this, I could get pregnant !” I begged and begged . . . .
How could I have ever known that my friend and neighbor would do this to me ??? We two couples had gone out for dinner the night before. When I woke up in the morning I was sick with the flu and stayed home from work.
I heard someone knocking on my front door. I opened it to find Andrew pushing through it. His eyes were glazed over; he looked like he was on drugs. He started mumbling about how much he wanted me and began pushing me into my bedroom. I was horrified ! I tried to resist him but was afraid to hit or kick him; I was conflicted because he was a doctor and our friend whom I respected until this moment. His wife, Lana and I spent lots of time together because our children were friends. I was begging and crying and pleading that he leave, stating that this would hurt everyone.
He yanked off my nightgown, pushed me down on the bed, and was forcing himself into me when I cried that I could get pregnant ! Instead, he forced me to have oral sex with him. It was disgusting, vile, humiliating and nauseating. I gagged and gagged; it didn’t stop him.
Finally when he was done he kept saying how much he loved me. I was repulsed and just wanted him to leave. When he finally left, I showered and showered for a long time and couldn’t get clean. I was in a state of shock !
The next day I received a bouquet of long-stem red roses from Lana with a THANK YOU note in it ! I realized that Andrew and she had discussed this and was a part of this insidious violation against me. I didn’t want to tell anyone because of our family ties and I felt overwhelming shame from the assault. I kept reliving it, thinking why hadn't I hit or kicked him ? Why didn't I scream ? Why was I so passive ? I was also afraid of Jonathan’s reaction so I kept it to myself.
Apparently the following morning I called Madeline, a close friend and said, “My father raped me !” I still don’t remember this conversation. Madeline told me that I was yelling at her as if she were my mother and involved in the assault.
I couldn’t sleep and started having nightmares. I looked up the phone number of a counselor at the church in which I grew up because I had gone back to it after Jonathan and I left our home church. I told Jerry, the counselor what had happened to me and that I was afraid to tell Jonathan. Jerry asked if he could tell Jonathan in my presence in the counseling office; I hesitatingly agreed.
While in Jerry’s office Jonathan was told that Andrew had raped me. The look Jonathan gave me made me feel guilty and more ashamed of myself; he was actually blaming me for being raped ! I couldn’t believe that he could be so insensitive and mean. I was betrayed by Jonathan, too. Something inside of me said that I wanted this to happen, that I had asked for it. I was NEVER interested in or attracted to Andrew and I would NEVER sleep with a married man. I loved Jonathan and wanted to be his alone.
I felt guilty and worthless because the one person I trusted, my own spouse, didn’t believe me. I had been faithful to Jonathan since our marriage of over ten years.
At age 30 I felt abandoned and alone.
Thus began a season of self-sabotage . . .

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Control Control Part VII

Our church group became more prominent in our lives and demanding of our time and resources. We were spending more time in meetings than any time as a family. I began complaining and begging for more family time together to no avail. I thought if we moved we would break free from this control over us.
I hoped that if we were to move to my hometown things would be better. When our daughter was nearly a one year old I desperately begged to move home. Jonathan finally agreed and found a job there. I was thrilled to think that I would be near friends and family again. The elders of our home church influenced us to start a church in our home. We met neighbors and connected with others who were doing the same. Shortly after we arrived I found out that I was pregnant again.
I still didn’t have any desire to spend time with my family of origin; I still didn’t know why they caused me so much emotional turmoil. So we created a new family within our church group. We began to grow as a group and bring in many members. We were still in contact with the elders from our previous group; they came and spoke and continued to influence our decisions. Though our faith was growing in God’s love for us we were in conflict because we felt constrained and somewhat controlled by the group. At this time our second daughter, Hope was born. Now we had two beautiful daughters which brought great joy into my life.
During this time a subtle shift was taking place within our group from practicing love to incorporating legalism in the form of lifestyle. We were told that we were too worldly because we had recently bought a new car. I was told that my dresses needed to be floor-length so as not to cause any men to sin. The judgment evolved into blatant accusations; rather than being encouraged we were being reprimanded.
We became increasingly disillusioned with our church. Jonathan was blamed for conflicts within our group. Other elders came and started preaching condemning beliefs. We began talking about the possibility of leaving the church we helped create. Before we did, an elder prophesied that I would have a son and that he would be a healer; I was only 23 and didn’t have knowledge available for distinguishing the gender of my unborn child.
After the birth of our son I began to have panic attacks and nightmares about demons; I couldn’t sleep. I was told by elders that I was sinful and needed to be delivered. I began to feel worthless and nearly stopped eating altogether because I was disgusted with my body. I felt that I needed to be perfect in every way so that my husband would pay attention to me. He was too busy creating a career in architecture to notice that I was dwindling away. Between caring for three children, cooking, shopping and attending meetings, I couldn’t rest without constantly cleaning our home and everything in it.
As my life was falling apart, Jonathan was building a successful career for himself. We moved to a larger home and were able to live a more affluent lifestyle. He finally told the church group that we were leaving; they condemned us. Jonathan began spending less and less time at home, going on business trips with clients; one in particular was a woman. I felt intimidated by her power as a business woman and suggested that he was having an affair with her. He told me that I was crazy; I believed him. A high school friend said that I was too trusting and that I should look out for myself by getting a job in case I needed to support myself one day. I applied at a large company and was immediately hired in the personnel department. I began to feel a little better about myself when I realized that I was proficient at many things.
Then one morning something terrible happened to me to change the course of my life . . . .

Monday, February 27, 2012

Blissful Escape Part VI

 “Will you marry me?”
Jonathan magically appeared in San Diego to witness the return of his brother from military duty overseas. We had barely seen each other in the past year after I threw out his love letters, thinking I had lost him forever; ironically, he did the same when he left for college.
He was my first love and still in my heart. We were married three weeks later in the small church in which I was raised  and moved to another city.  I would NEVER have to live under my father’s roof again !
I was filled with a sense of hope.

When I moved with Jonathan to Palm Desert I felt liberated. We both found jobs and began creating a life together. We lived near his family so we visited his mom, dad and brothers frequently. Doris, his mother, started a church in her home during this time. I was thrilled to have a new mother who paid attention to me, taught me how to cook and supported me in my marriage to her son.
During the next two years I rarely visited my own family.
Within a few months, the home church became the focal point of our lives. I thought we should be doing more to strengthen our relationship than attending church together. The beginning of a pattern of angry outbursts occurred one evening when I begged Jonathan to stay home with me rather than go to another meeting. I said that I wanted time alone with him, that I didn’t feel loved. He told me that he would always love me; then he left for his mom’s. I felt unworthy of his love. All I wanted to do was please him; I knew I had to try harder.
At the age of 19 I felt inferior to my husband. He seemed smarter, better educated and more spiritual than me. Whatever he decided became my choice. I followed his lead and dutifully joined in the services. Because of my musical abilities, I lead music and songs. Jonathan and his brother played guitars during worship.

We were taught by the traveling ministers who came to preach that we should not use birth control; it was against God’s plan for our lives. I had an ectopic pregnancy only two months after our wedding. I became pregnant again the next month. After six weeks I was hospitalized with pernicious vomiting, kept in a dark room for a week with no visitors, music or TV. I was told that I had a “nervous condition.” I was too ill to work.
The final trimester of my pregnancy went smoothly; I focused solely on the child growing within me. I was taught by the elder women in our church that it was more Godly to have natural birth and eat whole foods. My husband was a zealous evangelist and shared our beliefs with women. I did everything perfectly as I was told. When Faith was born I was so proud of myself and thrilled to have a baby to love unconditionally. She was everything to me.
During this time I genuinely embraced our religious beliefs; after an elder woman prophesied over me at a meeting I spoke in “tongues” for hours.  Shortly after, Jonathan was anointed as an pastor; I was certain we were on the right path as a family.
I felt safe and filled with love for Faith.
I was blind to the fact that the group was controlling every aspect of our lives . . .

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Crawling Out Part V

“I’m in love!”
I met a boy at church camp in the beautiful Sequoias in Northern California the summer before my sophomore year in high school. We immediately connected on a spiritual level. I sat down to a piano in one of the chapels and he got out his guitar; I sang while we played music together. Taking every opportunity to be together during that week, we sat by the lake for hours talking. He didn’t try to approach me physically during that time; we barely even kissed. He was so quiet and gentle that I felt safe and protected in his presence. At the end of the week together I knew I had met my future husband.
The only obstacle was that he lived in LA and I in San Diego; he was 16 without a car. Thus began correspondence via letters for four years.
My heart dared to be vulnerable and accept love from someone whom I trusted.

Though I continued to involve myself with other schoolmates, my heart belonged to him. I felt loved for the first time in my life; home-life seemed a little easier knowing someone cared for me. I began to have a sense of hope about my future. I began sewing all of my clothes and finding ways to create income to pay for my wardrobe by babysitting, ironing, and cleaning homes after school and on weekends.
At home the feeling of impending danger always lurked. I tried running away a few times, thinking I could somehow get to LA where my boyfriend lived. My father always found me and dragged me home; my fights with him became more fierce and detrimental for me. My family ganged up against me and supported my dad. I was constantly placed on restriction for weeks at a time because I couldn’t bear the way he intimidated and controlled all of us. At a family party my sister asked if I wanted to spend the night. I was just six weeks away from my eighteenth birthday. My father refused to let me stay; I knew it was because he wanted to control and abuse me. My father chased me as I ran up her staircase. I fought him off, scratching and biting him but he eventually dragged me down the stairs to our car. He threatened to drop me off at juvenile hall. I took one look at my little brother and chose to cooperate in order to protect him.
Throughout high school I found many avenues of escape, joining clubs at school, and a citywide religious choir that performed many places all over San Diego; anything I could do to experience some happiness and to avoid the roaring lion that wouldn’t leave.
When my boyfriend graduated from high school, I attended his prom and felt like a princess until he shattered it with news that we should just be friends. I was crushed and cried myself to sleep for months. I filled my life with one sexual encounter after another though no one could repair the deep hole in my heart; I thought I would never get over him. We remained friends.
I was the soloist for all choir performances at school and my grades remained high. I was shocked when I was nominated as Homecoming Princess, wondering why anyone was interested in me, still feeling dirty and worthless.

When my senior prom arrived no one invited me, confirming my feelings of being inferior. So I invited my former boyfriend in LA to attend the event with me. Though it was still uncomfortable to be in his presence I found a new strength inside of me that overcame the loss of his infatuation for me.
After graduation my mother encouraged me to attend a Christian Music College in LA; I was relieved to leave my dreadful environment and felt that I was being freed from a tortured life. Before I left I threw away all my letters of correspondence with my LA friend. I was determined to let him go completely. I immersed myself in my piano and school, getting A’s in every subject. I discovered that I could write musical scores in my dorm without being near a piano and got excellent responses from my professors of music. I also joined another choir and was able to travel all over the state performing with them.
I felt free and acted completely out-of-control sexually for three months when I met an older man on campus. He swept me off my feet, took me to concerts, bought me gifts and wined and dined me. Ultimately it was all about sex . . . HIS way, painful and humiliating. I submitted to his abusive behavior because I craved his attention. He was a professor at the college; my roommate informed the Dean and I was required to come to his office to discuss my relationship with my new boyfriend. I kept his confidence and lied during the intimidating interview. Afterward I approached my roommate and threatened her life; I never saw her again.

At one point during our relationship we had a terrible fight because he belittled me. I tried to commit suicide by swallowing the only thing I could find, aspirin; obviously I was unsuccessful. Amazingly, I managed to keep up my grades and choir performances. No one knew the life I was leading.
When I returned home in the summer my mother informed me that she could no longer pay for my tuition. I panicked, knowing that I couldn’t live in the same house with my abusive father. My life was reeling out of control again; I wanted to die. Even worse, my college boyfriend officiated as a tour guide for a group of students visiting his homeland, Germany and involved himself with one of them.
I felt hopeless!
Then destiny knocked on my door and I opened it as wide as possible.
Crawling out of my prison, I found a new way of escape . . .

What Intimacy ?

“I am so sorry for not trusting you,” I cried to my spouse this morning.
“I know,” he replied.
“But it keeps me from being close to you,” I spoke through my tears.
“It’s okay, honey.”
My family annihilated my ability to trust anyone.
Another devastating effect of incest.

I was on my way to my kid’s home early this morning and started asking God why I don’t have desire for my spouse when he tries to be intimate with me. He is so good to me and loves my family; he is precious in every way imaginable. 
I heard the answer clearly.
My father literally stripped trust from my heart, and my mother betrayed me by allowing him to repeatedly do so.
My spouse has done NOTHING to deserve this distance that I create between us.

When I think about him while we’re apart during the day, I have an abundance of loving, desirous feelings  toward him. I want to be close to him; he’s quite adorable.
I am discouraged right now because I continue to discover new damaged parts within myself. I often wonder if I will really ever recover from all the effects of this incestuous violation lodged in the depths of my soul.
God only knows . . . perhaps LOVE will find a way to restore me to wholeness. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Awakening Desires Part IV

“You’re my favorite,” daddy said.
My stomach tightened and I immediately felt nauseous; his statement made me uncomfortable but I didn’t know why. I felt ashamed and dirty inside.
My level of shame escalated the morning of my first menstrual cycle at age eleven; I thought I was bleeding to death ! My mother was at work so I frantically called a friend’s mother and found out what was happening to me. She was so angry with my mother for not preparing me. I felt betrayed. She didn’t loved me enough to share anything important with me. When I returned to school I thought I was the only girl in my sixth grade class going through this painful and shaming experience !

I was attending a new elementary school because we had recently moved two miles north of our home. Dad bought me a brand new TV and placed a blue princess-style phone by my bed. I had my own bedroom and my own bed for the first time. I felt loved by my dad because he had never given me any gifts in the past. Much later I understood his motive. Our new rental home was much larger with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. I thought we were doing better because dad had a gas station and we had food in the refrigerator.
Nothing improved in my relationship with my mother. She ignored me the older I became except when I was performing musically in school and church. Otherwise, we had no connection; I didn’t feel loved and didn’t trust anyone.
I became infatuated with a boy in my classroom. I didn’t let anyone know because I thought I was too ugly and poor for anyone to like me though I was at the top of my class academically and was elected as secretary of my school.

Nothing I achieved gave me any sense of self-worth. On the outside I had the appearance of perfection, talent, and intelligence. However, it masked the inner turmoil and lack of self-esteem brewing in my soul.
Within a few years I was covering up my promiscuity, feeling ashamed of myself and not able to stop my behavior. I trusted no one so I couldn’t talk about it. I just knew I was flawed deeply and didn’t know why . . . .

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Too Young to Know Part III

Sexually charged by age 5, I played doctor with most of my friends. We put objects in our sexual orifices. I looked at pin-up pictures of women and was aroused. It all felt normal to me to be curious about the private parts of girls and boys. I was caught kissing a boy in kindergarten and was publicly shamed by my teacher in front of my classmates.

I had no conscious knowledge of what was taking place in my own home to destroy my innocence !

Our home was a tiny old 600 SF beach cottage with two small bedrooms and one bathroom with a claw-foot tub and pedestal sink. The few furnishings we had were old and the kitchen curtains were torn. No one else had these worn relics in their home thus I felt poor. I hated to bring my friends home because I thought my father would walk in anytime and embarrass me in his drunkenness.

Because of his alcoholism, dad couldn't keep a job. He worked odd hours and came home during the afternoon, making my life miserable with his intimidation. I stayed outside as long as I could until mom arrived home from her full-time job, trying to support the six of us.

To help out, my older brother had a paper route and did yard work. At times we had no hot water, electricity or food. Our church often left paper grocery bags on our front porch. When we visited my mom's relatives they gave us crates of avocados and tangerines. When my father did bring home food he boasted about what a great cook he was and repeatedly told us that mom couldn't make toast. He frequently fished in the ocean across the street and traded some of it for treasures like abalone and lobster. Feast or famine !

During dinner dad intimidated all of us. We weren't allowed to talk at the dinner table. His philosophy of "divide and conquer" worked well to keep us separate and distrustful of our siblings. My mother never said anything and kept distant and uninterested in me. I continued to have fits of rage and fought him, though it only isolated me more from the rest of my family.

At school I felt inferior to everyone around me because I had very few changes of clothes; when I had no shoes to begin second grade I had to wear flip-flops. The only reason I had any nice clothes was because my older sister got a job at a local bakery and bought things for me with her meager income. My feelings of inferiority motivated me to compete in every aspect of my life.

My musical abilities helped give me a sense of accomplishment and self-esteem; I was the vocal soloist at school and church. At age 9 my mom paid for me to take piano lessons for $3/week; I rode my bike to my piano teacher's home and easily all aspects of the piano. Mr. Diano was a jazz pianist at a local bar. I often had a queasy feeling being in his home though he never did or said anything inappropriate. One day when I arrived, Jo Ann Castle, a talented TV pianist frequenting The Lawrence Welk Show was visiting him. Mr. Diano told her that I was his best student; he asked me to play a piano piece for her, She was delighted and encouraged me. Her support was greatly needed and appreciated. My musical confidence escalated; I continued piano lessons through college.

Next, early puberty . . . . .

Friday, January 20, 2012

Lion's Den Part II

"Jesus, please take daddy home or take me !"

The suffering three-year-old, Eileen (my birth name) wanted to be safe, didn't want to be terrorized by her drunken, raging father anymore.

The answer came in a gift.

I heard music and went to the old upright piano in our tiny living room. I began to play a song by ear. My voice opened up and I sang like an angel !

Not only could I sing but I began to stand up against the raging lion in our home. When he came in during the night and began fighting with my mom, I found new courage in my heart. I tried to protect her even though I was so small.

Because I fought back verbally and physically I acquired the name of "brat" by my mom, and "pest" by my older sister and brother.

Nothing deterred me from speaking out; a new level of hatred brewed in my heart. I wanted my dad removed from our lives.

My prayers and wishes didn't change this frightening environment.

In its place I received another gift.

Learning to read in a week at age four, I sailed above all my classmates in school. My teachers adored me and I them. Because everything came easily and quickly I was easily bored, hence given all errands to keep me occupied. I often stayed after school, calculating huge math problems on the green board in my classroom.

I found freedom and a safe haven at the beach and bay that encircled our little town; I felt safer outside than I ever felt in my home.

My energy level produced another gift, athletic ability; none in the school could outrun or outplay me at any game.

The dark side was my competitive and extremely volatile personality that clashed with my closest friends as I often fought with them to confirm my superiority.

At home I threw huge tantrums and often beat my head on the wall trying to get my mother to show interest in me. She was annoyed and walked away; our only connection was a prayer before bedtime.

My only respite was washing dishes because I was left alone unless I didn't scrub the wrought iron skillet good enough after a fried chicken dinner. Then the monster bullied me as I seethed in silence.

I was living two lives by age 5; the pretty little green-eyed blond with the cheerful personality who could do anything; and the tortured, angry child trying to change my mom's decision to stay with my dad.

When I went to the little church right across from our home, I was praised for my angelic behavior and musical talent. There I won all contests for most Bible verses memorized and received positive attention from the teachers.

My life was already a complex dichotomy.

More to come . . . 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Road Signs Part I

A friend informed me that my child was suffering from and eating disorder; I didn't see any signs.

Another friend gave me a book on INCEST, saying that God told him to give it to me; I was in denial.

I read it and trembled in fear, no longer in denial.

While making love one night I screamed for my spouse to get off me NOW !!! I thought he was my dad.

My first counselor said that he could feel the spirit of sexual victimization as I sat in his waiting room.

At the dinner table I felt a hand on my inner thigh and smelled a repugnant odor from my dad.

My counselor asked me to SEE who else was victimized; I saw many family members in a circle in the dark.

My grandmother made a blood sacrifice for my soul.

I couldn't sleep, had night sweats, nightmares filled with dark figures, demons, all chasing me.

I stopped seeing my first counselor because I couldn't talk about sex with a male.

I no longer could function outside of my home; I stayed in bed most of the day for months.

I told my sister what I remembered in my dreams; she said, "They're only dreams!"

My niece was hospitalized in a children's psychiatric facility for threatening her sister; I talked with her mom about my memories.

My brother said that my father had been molested by his father while in the bath tub.

My sister came to see me; called me a witch and crazy.

My older brother came over and said that I had better stop talking; my life was threatened.

I was referred by another friend to a female counselor.

My new counselor asked me what my nightmare was about the night before though I hadn't mentioned that I had one.

The ceiling was dripping with blood from a cat on a rope; I was strapped to a table in a dimly lit room.

I thought I was going crazy, hallucinating, shaking, frightened, not sleeping, developing phobias.

I checked into a women's facility because I could no longer function as a mother, wife or business partner.

Three weeks in, I started screaming due to deep, horrifying fear.

All I saw and felt was utter darkness.

I prayed and prayed and prayed to be rescued from my internal torture.

LOVE was with me all along; I found comfort and respite at times during the storm.

So the journey begins . . . .

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Familial Disease

I have been in emotional pain for the last four days.

My mother 91, fell and was taken to the hospital, suffering two lumbar fractures. I wasn't informed for over nine hours until I received a call from an administrator at her assisted living facility asking to authorize pain medication for her. I was distraught to think that mom was in pain and hadn't received any relief.

I was angry when I discovered that my sibling was notified, didn't go to the hospital and didn't pass along the information to the rest of the sibilings. Lack of communication is a chronic, negative effect of our family disease of incest.

As the messenger of the truth regarding my father as my perpetrator, I was immediately accused of lying, and promptly ostracized from the family. When I did have the courage to walk into my parent's home uninvited 10 years later I was accepted back with lingering unforgiveness from most of my family members.

When my father was dying of cancer God gave me the knowledge and love to take him to the hospital and set up hospice assistance. I stayed with him until his death eight weeks later, sang for him before he died, and sang AMAZING GRACE at his memorial service.

Three days before his death my father told me that I was the only person he trusted because "I know", and asked me to take care of mom. My mother lived with my husband and me for two years until my sibling removed her with his own ulterior motives. Shortly thereafter his spouse didn't want her and placed her in an assisted living environment which did not meet her medical needs of increasing frailty and dementia.

After my husband visited her residence and insisted that we be called in an emergency, the next night she had another fall. Because I was sick with fever, my dear husband got up after midnight, drove to the hospital and called all of my siblings on his way. She was returned to her residence in the early morning. He came home, slept two hours and got up for work. After my siblings found out what had transpired, mom was immediately removed from her residence back to my sibling's place rather than to a skilled nursing facility.

We are in crisis mode unnecessarily; two siblings made the decision to move her without consulting me or my other sibling. This is so typical of my family and so painfully disrespectful.

Yesterday my husband and I helped move her belongings because I didn't want all of her precious possessions thrown around without regard.

I have cried myself to sleep for three nights now because I know my mom is suffering and I have no control over her living situation.

This is a direct result of the devastating damages of incest in our family.

I have been very irritable, guilt-ridden, frustrated, discouraged and angry; unfortunately for my husband, my anger has been misdirected.

Right now I feel like I am never going to completely heal from the emotional damage of incest.

Thankfully, I know this is NOT the truth; I will overcome this !