Choosing to submit to the grief process was not an easy decision. After all, I’ve successfully avoided this whole situation for most of my life. The last 48 hours I’ve experienced random feelings of anger, sadness, grief, confusion and a deep dull ache with no adequate words to describe. I’ve drank 1 beer (I forgot beer is not gluten free – OUCH), consumed 4 cookies (ouch too) and cried at least a dozen times. After the initial feeling of anger and wanting to throw something against a wall, I’ve managed to be pretty well “put together”. All this over a memory.
I woke up crying again this morning and it made me mad. When the husband asked how I was doing I retorted with a bristled, “I’m not a patient person. I don’t understand why I’m not over this yet.” As IF I can control the amount of time it takes for grief to work. I found myself on Twitter and made this statement: There is never a wrong way or time to grieve the pain of abuse. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. # journeytohealing. Of course someone responded with “I don’t agree”. I responded and it was game on. Because, you know, Twitter is the best place to have a theology discussion. The conversation, even if I don’t agree with their viewpoint, has helped bring some closure. I found Abba speaking healing into my heart as the day went by…140 characters at a time.
The discussion narrowed to this: ultimately I’m challenging the idea that victim cannot sin in how they handle the turmoil of their abuse. I about stopped at that point. But I knew I needed to take the challenge on…because this grief is ALL about how I handled the turmoil of my abuse.
I didn’t choose to be abused sexually. I didn’t choose to be abused physically. I didn’t choose to be abused emotionally. I didn’t choose to be abused mentally. I CERTAINLY didn’t choose to be abused spiritually, as a child…there’s an argument I chose to endure spiritual abuse as an adult. THE point is that I didn’t CHOOSE what happened to me. I’m not responsible. And most rational human beings accept that. What they say I AM responsible for is my reaction. And I agree to an extent, but not to the extent that my reaction can/should be labeled as sin.
I was sexually abused/molested from the ages of 7 to 18 by various people. I was physically abused by a teacher when I was 7 with a 2×4 30 times, leaving me with a bruised bottom and an incredible fear of those in charge. I grew up in an church that was filled with emotional, mental and spiritual abuse. My family life was marked by domestic violence, poverty, homelessness and rape. I moved more times and went to bed hungry more times than I care to remember. To say I arrived in my husband’s life with trauma is an understatement.
Because of the age of my abuse, the overwhelming legalistic control of the church, the twisted theology of sin, sex and purity, I never had the opportunity to grow, to trust, to love. The trauma was never addressed, never healed. I received no counseling because no one knew it happened. I entered our marriage unable to love or be loved. Every interaction was more emotional pain, more trauma. I would beg Abba to change me. I would beg him to fix me. I would tell him how sorry I was I wasn’t holy enough, righteous enough, pretty enough, loving enough, enough…to be the husband’s wife. The day my husband shattered my soul and psyche, screaming his disappointment in who I was…regret that he had married me…I begged Abba to take my life so my husband could spiritually/legally get a new wife who could love him, that he’d need and want. When I became a mother, I again prayed that I’d die because I was not good enough to be their mother. I was so terrified of everything. And hated myself. And I begged and repented and pleaded for forgiveness. And nothing ever changed.
And the Bible, the one I read, told me that I was sin. And that I should turn the other cheek and turn from wrath and anger and forgive and choose grace and mercy and love and not hate…and when I couldn’t I again turned to repentance and pleading and begging. And nothing ever changed.
Until I hit the bottom and found my Jesus standing next to me, not ashamed of my sin, my pain…who I was. He loved me. All of me. Entirely. And I began to heal. To feel safe.
But trauma is still trauma and there’s no way out of the consequences. So I walk through this grieving process. And I feel all this weight of sin. And I ask Abba to please help me forgive myself, my husband, those who hurt me. I repent. Nothing happens. I beg. Nothing happens. And it finally hits me. I am asking him to do the wrong thing.
My behaviors were not the result of my sin. They were the reaction to the trauma. I did not sin in reacting because I didn’t sin in the first place. What I experienced was the consequences of the sin that was committed against me. I am absolutely responsible for what I did, I DID THOSE things, but they were not the result of sin, they were not sin. AND in realizing that, I have asked the right question of Abba: Can you remove the weight of sin from my life? It is not mine to bear.
And he smiles, and whispers “Yes. This I can do.”
Spiritual abuse is harder in some ways to get over than all the other stuff I have had to work on because it caused me to hide from Abba. And, I still talk about the abuse and it still hurts and I still sometimes get frustrated and angry when I’m triggered by it..it’s not sin. It’s another piece I have to give to my father, because only HE can remove the weight.
I’ve never grieved, because I thought it was sin to grieve. Grieving is a process. I have to be angry that someone chose to take a piece of me that I can’t get back. I have to be angry that someone decided that the way to show me how much God loved my soul but hated my sin was to beat my body until it was bruised. I have to be angry that when I should have learned to love and trust and flirt and wear makeup and curl my hair and be a girl I was told I was the kind of girl who couldn’t have those thing. I have to be angry that the one time I needed him the most, my husband left me hysterical, heart bleeding and alone on the floor, leaving me begging my life to end so he didn’t have to be ashamed of me. I have to go through those points in my life that wounded me and then grieve. Grieve the loss of what could have been and accept that sometimes shit happens and life sucks and just is what it is. Because on the other side of this is healing and I’m fighting for that with everything I have.
Post has been edited for clarification. If I inadvertently implied that I was physically abused in my marriage it was unintentional. He has never physically hurt me in any way, shape or form.