I’ve been given the assignment by my therapist to think about how I can be stronger so I won’t become a victim of a predator again.
I’m sitting here racking my brain with frustration trying to figure this out.
I’m really angry today because the man who victimized me denied being a predator in a letter of apology he wrote to my husband. It was a slap in the face to me. It was not just some affair. It was an abusive, destructive, relationship. I’m mostly angry with myself for giving into his lies.
I don’t know how to appear stronger. I only know how to be myself and to be honest.
God has shown me the truth about the self contempt I’ve felt towards myself for most of my life. The self contempt that caused me to feel worthless, desperate and lonely. The self contempt that whispered in my ear and told me I didn’t deserve anything good. The self contempt that convinced me sin was my only relief.
I know deep inside of me there was this hurting little girl wanting to be loved more than anything else. I kept her hidden in the depths of my soul, because I was afraid she’d get hurt again.
The predator knew how to draw my little girl out…flattery, kindness, and generosity. She felt so loved, so special. She came out of the darkeness thinking she’d found a home in his heart. She thought she was safe. She didn’t know she was about to get trapped in a sticky web of deception that would suffocate the life out of her for the next ten years. It all started with one little white lie…a secret her predator asked her to keep…one no one else could possibly understand…they shared a heart but it was about more than her finding the father figure she desired…it was about him loving her like someone he wanted to marry.
The little girl crawled back in the dark that day and cried. She knew this man wanted the same thing the father who had abused her wanted… It was just what she brought out in men. The self contempt took over again and I believed the lie that secrets and lies were my home.
My predator became my everything. He was the only one I believed I could trust. The relationship became more entangled, his family, my family believed we were just friends. The guilt and shame suffocated me… Sin gave temporary relief that only led to more shame, which led to more sin. And he was my pastor and my boss.
I never stopped feeling guilty even when we weren’t sinning outwardly, even when we stopped the sinful behavior, because I just couldn’t look at my family and his family without hating myself for the deception. I longed to live in the light of the truth…. To know someone would love me despite my sin.
I confessed to my next pastor/boss ten years later, then to my husband all that I’d done. The thickened web of deception finally fell off in the light of truth setting me and my little girl free.
As the time passes I’m learning to let the little girl out and get to know her better. At first I was angry with her for being so weak and getting abused, but now I’m seeing she couldn’t help what happened to her. I’m learning God has a good plan and purpose for her and it isn’t to hide in the dark.
It’s not about trying to be strong, rather it’s about being me…the adult child of a sexual abuser seeking desperately to believe she is so much more.
The other day my husband lost patience with me for overwhelming him with my tendency to think out loud in an effort to find a solution. He’s more hands on and practical and doesn’t understand my way of processing information out loud. When he snapped at me the little girl wanted to run and hide. The self contempt wanted to take control and say all you ever do is cause trouble and bring pain and misery on everyone you know.
But somehow a prayer came out of my desperate soul for wisdom and God gave me pictures of a beautiful little girl created for good. I watched my little girl chase chickens in the back yard of a sweet couple that kept me for two weeks while my parents were out of town. I’d only been 7 or 8 at the time, but it was the happiest of my life. Miss Millie made me homemade biscuits, lemonade and lemon pie and country fried ham. Mr. Frank took me to the store and bought me candy. He treated me with kindness, respect and love. He and Miss Millie laughed for years after about me chasing those chickens.
I remember so well at the end of the day being fascinated at the chickens roosting in the tree in their back yard. I loved being there. If I could have grown up with them I imagine I’d have lived very differently.
I remember the days at my uncle’s store. Days eating fried eggs and bacon with my aunt while she smoked cigarettes and talked about life and what was important. My uncle would take me and my cousin on trips to buy supplies and we’d get cool toys to keep. He made me feel special like his own daughter.
I remember Jack, the drunken family member of my aunt who hung out in front of the store smelling strong of liquor and sitting next to me on an old coca cola crate. We’d talk about just about anything. I actually think he enjoyed my company, as much as I did his.
It’s memories like these that I see the person God has created me to be…a curious, creative, bird loving, people loving little girl who wants to just be free to live and be herself…to tell the truth and to never live in the dark prison of lies again.
So I don’t need to be strong. I just need to be me and know that’s ok and very good, and just what God desires.