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.


  1. Thank you for sharing this very courageous post. I have also been abused as a child, and I have always felt guilty for feeling safe when close to my abuser. I also feel safe close to my abusive husband. Being "his property" makes him want to protect me.

  2. Celeste, learning to set healthy boundaries takes time. Congratulate yourself on the awarenesses that you received about this situation. Awareness is always the first step toward changing something. You deserved to be treated better than your family treated you when you were a child and now that you are an adult.

  3. You are a beautiful soul Celesteka...and inspire me sooo much. Stay strong okay...and safe....

  4. Family are the hardest to deal with. They teach the most difficult lessons. In the hardest way, they teach us to love ourselves, to live in truth, to speak our truth. I think you know I do, and yet it is so difficult to do with them. They are both my teachers and tormenters. You are amazing. An amazing, strong, loving spite of all that's happened to you (from what I've read). Family who does not accept you have a problem with their OWN acceptance. Nothing to do with you. You may only show them what they cannot face in themselves. So you also are their teacher.

    I wish you much healing and love. You are an inspiration many...I'm certain of that. :) A.