Old Posts from December, 2011 through February, 2012

*Please note – This is a copy of posts from my old blog.  The old blog was redesigned to point to this one, but not before I got all the old posts transferred.  What is here and the next few posts to the “Posts from The Old Blog” are copies of what I did thanks to the Internet Archive Wayback Machine and many thanks to Tracie Nall at FromTracie for telling me about this.  The links probably do not work and the pictures may not show up and to my dismay, the comments are lost.  I will try to reconstruct the links, but I apologize for these posts.  ~Jackie

New Hope for New Beginnings

My friend sent me an email this week and asked if he could use part of my story in a sermon.  He was my minister in high school.  I always liked and trusted him.  He has seen me fight and struggle to get where I am.  And he has always been a good and supportive friend.  He likes to remind me that he is in my corner, and I very much like to hear that.

“I’m writing a sermon on wounded healers. Was wondering if I could use your life story as an example. You embody that phrase!”  This is what my friend wrote to me.

As always, I am honored and taken aback.  I have just found a way to survive.  I can recognize the extraordinary strength it takes to survive-in others.  In myself, it just seems like something I did.

On different fronts, I guess I am discouraged and have been letting that dictate how I feel about myself.  I am forgetting the one front on which my life is extremely good and wonderful.  My goal is to focus on that and rebuild the pieces that are frustrating.

And I think the most amazing thing in this rebuilding is that for the first time ever, I have support.  My friends have always supported me, but this is support of a different kind.  This is from my partner, my love.  He supports me in so many ways I never imagined.  Not only is he kind and gentle, but he listens when I speak and hears not only my words, but what is on my heart and what I haven’t always found the words to say.

At this moment, I have to wait and not post this.  My divorce isn’t final, so I can’t write about the love of my life.  And just to be clear, I did not meet my true love until after I had been downtrodden by another man who was supposed to love me.  Today, I filed the financial paperwork to end the marriage.  It is down to legal paper work, and anger.  I am not good with anger, but it is the only emotion I have left for a person who I loved, and I thought loved me.  In his own way, perhaps he did, but it was a way that was destructive to me.  He ran up bills, or promised me he would help me pay bills that he wouldn’t.  I worked two jobs to make sure there was enough money to pay the bare minimum of bills and not be homeless.  He liked to throw money into the stock market.  And would sometimes make money, but much more often lose it.

I left him two years ago, when I found out he had had affair.  Of course, he said it was just a fling and he was drunk.  That was supposed to make it ok.  I was supposed to forget because it only happened once.  The back story was that he went to the place where they met almost every day.  He would get angry at me or say he needed space, and go out, in my opinion, with the intention to run into her.

So, I left.  And the place where I went wasn’t a safe place for me to be.  Physically, I was safe, but emotionally, it was too close to what I had known.  The town was too near to the town I was abused in.

So, I went back, knowing I couldn’t stay there for long, and trying to figure out how I could make it on my own.  I stayed just under a year more.  By that point, I was thinking about going on medication for depression.  Even with all I had been through, I had never been that low.

I didn’t have a plan, but I couldn’t stay anymore.  He told me he wasn’t happy with me and was no longer attracted to me.  That was all my self esteem could take.

BUT, it rebounded quickly.  I felt so much better without him than I ever had with him.  I stayed for the wrong reasons.  I hate to admit that, but it was one of those things I did.  I knew it was a bad choice, but made it anyway.  I learned a huge lesson from that.

If I know it is a bad decision, I won’t be choosing whatever that is in the future.

I am worth so much more.

I am capable of truly loving; and being truly loved.

What I have been through has been immense, but I feel whole.  I love who I am.  I am loved.  I am strong.  It took me years to get here to that person, and now I have earned and worked for everything I have.

I feel free.  And I feel like I can be myself.  It is an amazing feeling.  I know it will change my writing, and I feel life can only get better from here.

It wasn’t an easy road and it is by no means over, but I have so much hope for where it can go from here!

watch?v=LZ34LlaIk88

Posted in Survivors | 6 Comments

Yeah, I’m Good Enough, Just For Today and Maybe Even Tomorrow

Shut Up

Who are you to speak like that and treat me in this way

You criticize me constantly, not one nice thing to say

You misuse me and abuse me and you don’t think it’s wrong

You always say I’m worthless and that I don’t belong

You’ve deceived me and you’ve lied to me for way too many years

Always bringing up the past, surrounding me in fear

Twisting my reality so I can’t see what’s true

So shut up mirror, shut your face

It’s time I put you in your place

I’m a divine creation, a ray of light

just for today I WILL shine bright

God created me, stay out of the way

I’m good enough, just for today

Thanks to my Higher Power, I have faced these thoughts of mine

for years they have kept me hopeless, frightened, lost and blind

I see I’ve grown addicted, to putting myself down

But my Higher Power’s shown me, that what was lost is now found

So shut up mirror, shut your face

it’s time I put you in your place

I’m a divine creation, a ray of light

just for today I WILL shine bright

God created me, stay out of my way

I’m good enough, just for today

Yeah I’m good enough, just for today

My friend wrote this poem.  She read it to me recently and at first, I thought it was talking about another person.  In my experience, I could have attributed the actions the poem describes to my father.  He ran me down and made me feel like I was worthless.

Then I thought it could have described the man I am divorcing.  He played a lot of games and everything was all about him.  I never felt like I mattered to him.  I mattered only for what I could do for him.  He told me I mattered, but again and again, he showed me that I only mattered if my thoughts and feelings were in accordance with his.

There was one day that he told me I was selfish.  A little voice in my head said that wasn’t true.  I had done nothing but sacrifice my job, my friends, my opportunities, and almost my sanity for him.  Having done that before for another man, once I finally got out from under his thumb, I felt like I could breathe again.

Then my friend read the line of the poem about the mirror.  “So shut up mirror, shut your face.”  In the few short lines of the poem that preceded this, I could point the finger at someone else.  This line made me turn the finger at myself.

Yes, my father had run me down.  Yes, the man I thought loved me had run me down.  But I had gotten so good at internalizing it, I didn’t need them to do it anymore.  I had become an expert at doing it myself.

My tears were still flowing, and my friend read on.  The next part of the poem that really struck me was, “Thanks to my Higher Power, I have faced these thoughts of mine.”  I struggle to find comfort in the Divine Higher Power.  The image of the higher power that is stuck in my head helped plant the seeds of self-doubt and shame.

As a lower-middle class Caucasian who grew up in a small town, most of the images of God I ever heard referred to a white man with a long flowing beard who sat on a throne.  In my young and abused state, that sounded a whole lot like my father.  He didn’t sit on a throne, but he certainly did have a chair in which no one else could sit.  What he said was law.  What he wanted to do, well, without question he did.  He acted as if he was above the law and he did things with little or no consideration for what anyone else wanted or needed.

The correlation wasn’t exact, but as young as I was, I could draw a direct line between God and my father.  I had never known a man who was all-knowing and wise, and not abusive.  He took his knowledge manipulation and control and warped my world.  I know people who experienced God as loving and gentle, because that is what they knew.

What I knew was very different.  What I experienced affected my relationships.  I didn’t know how to pick a good spouse; and picked two who were not good for me.  It took having some good and gentle male friends who weren’t domineering or manipulative to show me how a relationship could be.   I couldn’t imagine how it could be different from what I had experienced, but I now know that it can be.  I have the rest of my life to experience how it can be different.

Yeah I’m good enough, just for today.

I think that will help me remember that I’m good enough for tomorrow and all the following days too.  I’m not without flaws, but I’ve finally realized I’m good enough.

Posted in Survivors | 6 Comments

Hoping for Hope

From the Christian perspective, this is the season of light and hope.  From a survivor’s perspective, it is often hard to see either light or hope.  The tunnel out of pain is long and dark.

The Christmas season is supposed to be filled with anticipation of the celebration of a child’s birth.  It is supposed to bring light and happiness to our world filled with dreariness and depression.

The birth of every child should be a celebration.  Every parent to be should want a child so much that they can hardly wait to hold that child in their arms and love them – in an approprite, safe parental way.

The romantic part of me, or some part I cannot name that makes no sense, wants to only focus on the hope and the light.  I want to believe that every child born is wanted and that nothing bad will ever happen to him or her. 

My live has shown me that is just a fantasy for some people.  Many people do come into this existence and are genuinely loved and wanted.  Many people, however, do not.  They have to struggle for everything in life that should just be a given.  It should be a basic human right that everyone has enough food.  It should be a basic human right that everyone has shelter.  It should be a basic human right that everyone is loved and cared for and no one is ever abused.

Knowing that abuse is real and that even basic human rights are not guaranteed, it has often been difficult for me not to give up hope.  Believe me, I wanted to give up on it.  I used to believe that if I could give up hope, and just accept what was happening to me, it wouldn’t be so hard to know my father was treating me like a sex object.  It would have been easier to just succumb to the fate he had in mind for me.  What he did was pretty extensive, but I think he was stopped before he was ready.  I never had to deal with what he truly had in mind.

As I listen to women and men struggle with the abuse they have suffered, I feel the anxiety and their willingness to give up hope.  Without hope, it is easier to take all the crap and say it doesn’t matter because I don’t matter.

Well, you do matter.  You don’t matter to your abusers because they are so selfish they can’t even see you, but to at least one person in your life, you do truly, unequivocably matter.

And that may be the hardest bit of hope to handle.  I have been in a place in life when I didn’t want to hope.  It felt like hope hurt too much and that it was an unattainable, tricky thing.  Hope made me want to believe that things could be different when I didn’t really believe that they could.

And how would I have to be different if hope was real?  I was already going through hell and felt like my heart was broken.  Healing sometimes hurts about as much as getting hurt.

Hope allowed me to go on, even when I didn’t want to.  I would say that I had given up, that it was too much hassle and struggle to go on.  In the depths of my soul, I held on.  I would take out the hope and examine it and wonder why I couldn’t just throw it away.  I wondered why I kept it – it didn’t seem to be doing me any good.

I kept going.  I kept getting up every day and even if I felt like my life was a complete ruin, I couldn’t stay down.  I never understood why, but it was as if I couldn’t help but go on.  I trudged through the tunnel that never seemed to end, but finally I got to the other side.  I am not without scars, but I am a better person than I thought I could be.  I have found that I can love and hope and dream without feeling like my life is about to end in agony.

And it feels so strange to say, but I am actually happy.  Happiness always felt as illusive to me as the Lock Ness Monster or a unicorn, but now that I have found it, I cannot imagine being with out it.  I am actually at a point that I not only believe I can be happy and have hope, but that I deserve it.

And as we progress into this season of hope, it is my sincere hope that you know you deserve happiness too.  You are brave and strong, no matter what your abusers tell you or have told you.  You are ok and it is ok to hope, even if it feels weak and a little awkward.

 

 

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