Monthly Archives: June 2019

In Which I Begin to Deal With the Hard Stuff

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I’ve begun to realize that I only talk about surface stuff when I go to therapy, which feels like a waste of resources (McT’s time and my money). I’ve been seeing someone for therapy off and on, mostly on, for about forty years. Some of the therapists were fairly decent, some of them were not so good. Some of them were perfectly AWFUL, and maybe two or three of them were spectacularly good. All of them were Christians, except for the first one I ever saw, because I didn’t have a hand in choosing him, plus I wasn’t a Christian yet, so having a Christian therapist wasn’t important to me.

The reason I avoid talking about what I call the hard stuff is because it’s painful, and therefore difficult to talk about.

When I was little and multiple, and being abused in the cult, they would program us by repeating the medical words of sexual body parts over and over again to make certain alters come out and take off their clothes and lay down and wait to be raped. 

So now, even though I’m no longer multiple, whenever I hear any of those words, I feel an incredible amount of anxiety inside, and I can’t say them myself, nor can I write them. If I try to write them I have to scribble them out so you can’t see what was written there. If I were to let the word stay visible the anxiety would be so great that it feels like I’d be annihilated by it. It feels like I’d blow up.

Some of the words are worse than others, and some are just plain impossible.

So the upshot of it is that I need to work on those issues. I’ve tried to work on them before, but it never goes very far. After talking about it for a few sessions I usually end up backing off my resolve and going back to talking about the easy stuff again. But I don’t want to be in bondage forever, so I can’t do that anymore.

Part of me is afraid to talk about it simply because I don’t know what it would be like to be free of the problem. Kind of silly, I know, but there it is.

And part of dealing with the hard stuff is taking showers. I took one this morning.

Wonders may never cease.

It’s probably been about six months since my last shower, I’m ashamed to say, but try as I might, I just couldn’t make myself do it before now.

Taking showers has been a problem of long standing for me. The very first abuse memory I ever had was of Harry forcing me to have oral sex with him in the shower when I was about two years old. I got so confused and frightened that I lost control of my bowels and pooped on the shower floor. Of course, that enraged him, so he picked it up and threw it at me, and then he forced me to eat it. Then he dragged me into the bedroom and raped me.

So, needless to say, showers are a huge problem for me, and baths are even worse, but God is good, and I’m hoping and praying that He will intervene and help me with this problem just as He’s done with all my other issues.

And that, as they say, is that.

I Would Make a Great Hermit

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And I’m not saying that’s a necessarily a good thing, either, because I believe God created us to be in fellowship with other Christians, as it says in the Book of Hebrews,

And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. ~ Hebrews 10:25, NLT.

Gathering together with other Christians keeps us sharp and sensitive towards God. Going to church and hearing the Word preached on a regular basis, in fellowship with other believers, does the same thing,

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. ~ Proverbs 27:17, NLT. 

All of that is to say that I like being alone. I’m a finest-kind introvert. I would much rather be by myself than spend time with other people. I don’t like talking on the phone just to talk. If the phone call doesn’t have a definite purpose other than to say hi, how are you, then I don’t want to participate in the conversation.

I’ve often thought that I’d love to find, or better yet build, a cabin out in the wilderness somewhere. I would want it to be a multilevel treehouse that has all the amenities, including wi-fi, and a full bathroom (NOT an outhouse). I want an indoor bathroom with indoor plumbing, and a full kitchen, even if the only cooking I do is nuking. I would be the only one living there with my cat and my dog, who would be close friends. And it would be way high up in a huge tree, so I wouldn’t have to come down, except for maybe once a month to drive out to purchase food and supplies.

I’ve wanted a treehouse for a long time, many years, in fact. Treehouse Masters was my favorite show on TV when they were airing new episodes. Unfortunately, they aren’t going to be on TV any longer. Pete Nelson sent out a newsletter a couple of weeks ago that said they won’t be making any new episodes.

I’m fairly certain that the foundation for my craving for isolation is my wonderful childhood (and, yes, that’s big-time tongue-in-cheek and sarcasm that you hear in my words). The only time I was safe was when I was by myself, and I couldn’t trust anyone but myself.

I have no illusions that my almost desperate desire for solitude is a godly one. I know it’s not, because my understanding of Scripture tells me it’s not. But, at least for the time being, it’s not something over which I have much control. As I can I try to place myself in contact with other people on a periodic basis, but only as I can do so and still remain in my comfort zone, so to speak. There are times when I try to step outside my comfort zone, but not very often. By definition, it’s too uncomfortable.

Obviously this will have to be a matter for discussion with McT.

HARRUMPH!!!

Fathers and Mothers, or Ever Onward With God.

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For most of my adult life I’ve had problems with the holidays. You know, Thanksgiving and Christmas, etc. Actually it started around Hallowe’en and continued through the middle of January. I would get horribly depressed, often to the point that I had a hard time getting out of bed, and it would be hard for me to blink and breathe.

Interestingly, however, in the last couple of years, God must have been healing me on the sly, so to speak, because all of a sudden I realized I wasn’t experiencing the usual horrible, soul-killing depression over the holidays like I always had.

What sweet relief! To know I won’t have to go through that yearly, terrible, mack-truck depression again fills me with joy and a deep, abiding peace. I can’t even describe how wonderful it feels to know I won’t have to go through that again! The only problem is, now God seems to have moved on to another set of issues.

Rats!

While I didn’t think I was completely done with healing, I thought at least He might give me a little respite before He started in on the next issue.

Not so! Silly me for thinking that! Ever onward with God!

What I’m experiencing now is the same kind of depression, only not to the same degree, thank God, around Mother’s and Father’s Day. When each of these celebrations comes around I start feeling all jumbled up and fragmented inside, like I did when I was multiple. I’m not losing time or anything like that. I think more than anything I’m just feeling sad.

Everytime I hear some DJ or radio commentator or news journalist talk about how wonderful and amazing fathers are, or how important and special mothers are, I want to yell at them that they don’t know what they’re talking about. And then I feel horribly depressed and sad for hours afterward.

In the middle of all this Mother’s and Father’s Day folderol I found a verse from Proverbs in an email from RZIM,

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother. ~ Proverbs 1:7-8, DRA.

DRA is the Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition of the Bible, for anyone who wants to know.

I read that passage and thought, this is what I was supposed to get from my parents, but didn’t.

For whatever reason, I don’t feel jealous of other people’s happy childhoods. I just feel sad because of what I missed out on, sad and lonely. It’s probably the only time I’ve ever felt lonely, because I like being alone most of the time. When I was a kid the only time I was safe was when I was alone.

My mom used to say that the best way to punish my sister was to isolate her, and the best way to punish me was to spank me. She knew she couldn’t isolate me, because if she did I would actually welcome it, and then go off and read a book for hours on end.

It was during that period that I became a voracious reader. I could read a book and get lost in the story, thus escaping the chaos and confusion of whatever was going on in my family. It still works for me to this day. Reading is the most relaxing thing I do, except for petting Lily, my cat.

I would make a great hermit, because I don’t feel alone, even when there’s no one around. I can feel God’s presence with me all the time. Please don’t think that makes me a spiritual person or anything like that. I think it’s a gift God gave me to help me during the difficult times of my childhood. At the time I didn’t know it was God, and it wasn’t until just the last five years or so that I’ve realized that He was there all along.

I am SOOO GRATEFUL to know that God has been sustaining me throughout my life! I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is faithful and trustworthy, and that He will never, ever leave me nor forsake me. I know this because His Word promises He won’t, but I also know it because I have the proof from my childhood. He sustained me and kept me alive throughout, regardless of how bad it got. He saved my life a number of times when I would have died if He hadn’t been there.

So regardless of the fact that I didn’t have parents who cared about me, I still had God, and I think this is a season of healing that I’m going through, where I may feel depressed around Mother’s and Father’s Day, and whenever I think about issues surrounding mothers and/or fathers, as I did around Thanksgiving and Christmas for many years. Thank God I don’t experience what I used to feel around those holidays anymore, so hopefully this Mother’s-and-Father’s-Day season won’t last very long.

God is SOOO GOOD!!!

 

The Sweet, Simple Joy of a Baby

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My friend Karen came over this afternoon (Saturday, June 8th), and she brought her year-old baby, Jonathan. We sat on the grass outside my apartment, and Jonathan, in perpetual motion, walked all around both Karen and I, and pulled up bits of grass, making mud-pies with the dirt and grass-blades.

Jonathan laughed and babbled in baby-talk. He’s getting close to saying his first words, making bi-labial sounds. He’s such a delight, and a joy to watch and listen to.

I had picked up my mail during our walk, so after we sat down, I let Jonathan play with it. He was carrying pieces of it around and dropping them in various places. That didn’t bother me any, because I didn’t want any of it anyway, plus I loved that he was having so much fun with it.

Jonathan With a Dirty Face. He’s so CUTE!!

Jonathan With a Dirty Face, 06:08.2019

Being around Jonathan is making me realize something, a lot of things, actually.

The abuse I endured as a child was so extreme that I had to become multiple in order to survive, both physically and emotionally. Additionally, what was happening to me was so traumatic that I had to repress the memory of it, because, as a child, I wasn’t equipped emotionally to be able to process or handle what I was experiencing. The maturity required for that wouldn’t come until many years later. As a consequence, the first ten years of my life are pretty much blank.

As an adolescent, I babysat to earn money for clothes and other incidentals. One time, when I was about thirteen years old, I was taking care of a friend’s one-year-old baby, and the baby started crying and couldn’t stop. I think she had colic. Her crying turned into shrieking, and I couldn’t make her quiet down, and I didn’t know what to do. She kept on crying and shrieking and crying and crying, and I finally lost it, and started shaking her.

Immediately I got really scared, because instinctively I knew that what I’d done wasn’t right. So even though she was still crying, I put her down.

I’ve never forgotten that experience. Ultimately the baby did stop crying, thankfully, and I’m gratefully able to report that she suffered no lasting effects from being shaken. But I came to the conclusion after that babysitting session that I could no longer babysit, and I could not think of becoming a parent, even though, at the time, I had no memory of being abused. I was sure that, if I had children, I would abuse them. I had no idea on what I was basing that fear, other than that one time of babysitting. I just knew with a strong certainty that I would abuse any children I produced if I were married. So that also meant I could never be married.

At the time I was a little disappointed about the idea of not being able to be married, because I’d long held a dream of an amazing wedding ceremony with a beautiful wedding dress and lots of gorgeous flowers. But a wonderful day meant nothing along side a life of misery if the miserable life was made that way because I was treating my children in unloving and ungodly ways by abusing the life out of them.

In later years, after memories started to surface and I began to fill in the ten blank years with reality, I began to understand why I was afraid of having children. I began to see that my fear of abusing any children that I might have was realistic, based on what I’d gone through myself, though my reasons for not wanting to be married changed somewhat. Part of the reason still had to do with fear of abusing my children, but I now realized I was terrified of sex as well, because of what Harry had done to me throughout my childhood (see the post from October 10, 2016 called Am I Afraid of Anger or Do I Get Angry At the Fear? for a good explanation).

All of that is to say that God has done a tremendous amount of healing in me, and I’ve only come to realize just how much in the past year since being around Jonathan.

Once I knew what was in my background I made it point to never be alone with small children and/or babies. I’ve never been afraid I would abuse them sexually. I’ve never been tempted in that way. In fact, the idea of doing that is utterly repugnant to me. What I’m terrified of is that I would hurt them physically.

But since Jonathan came into my life, I’ve had several opportunities to be alone with him, and even though there were times that he began to cry, I was never triggered or tempted, not even a little bit, to hurt him or get upset with him.

Wow! Just Wow!! I’m in awe at the wonderful works of God! I can feel a qualitative difference inside from the way it used to be. It used to be that when I was around a child and that child started crying, I could feel a lump rising in my throat, and my fists would start to clench and unclench. I could feel tension building up inside, and the lump in my throat would begin to make my throat close. I would want to scream at the child, “SHUTUP!! STOPCRYING!! until the crying stopped, and I could barely keep from hitting or shaking the child to make him or her stop crying, though logically, if you hit a kid, or shake him, he won’t stop crying. He’ll cry even more. Duh!!

Needless to say, you can see why I had to stay away from children!

But it’s different now. All of those negative feelings are gone, thank God. Now I feel a wonderful peace, and a deep, abiding joy when I’m with Jonathan. I’m able to sing to him, and play with him, and just enjoy being with him, rather than worrying that he’s going to trigger me into abusing him. I will probably always be careful when I’m around children, out of an abundance of caution, because I would never, ever, want to be guilty of hurting one of God’s innocents in the way I was hurt. But I’m so grateful to God for healing me in such marvelous ways that I can now allow myself to be around children. Having to keep myself away from them always caused me tremendous heartache, because I love children! They’re amazing!

Thank you, Jesus!!

Hurray for a Working Computer!

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My computer was completely non-functional for about two weeks, so I had to do everything on my iPad. It wasn’t much fun, I can tell you. Writing on an iPad is very difficult to do if you don’t have an external keyboard, which I don’t, and as consequence I haven’t been able to post anything here for most of that time. I’ve decided the iPad isn’t good for anything but playing games, and maybe making art if you can figure out how to use the apps.

Part of the problem was that it took my computer guy two weeks to figure out what was wrong. As it turned out, the problem was a simple, yet profound fix. Something, I forget what, had come loose inside the casing of the computer, and as a result, I couldn’t even boot up properly. Everytime I turned it on all I got was a blinking file folder with a question mark in the middle of it.

I thought I was going to have to buy a new computer, and after pricing them out, it would have cost me almost $4000 to get a new Mac with the specifications that I needed. I’m very grateful to God for saving me $4000!

But finally, Tuesday, they figured it out and fixed it. Praise God! And now I have it back, fully functioning. I can post here and play games and listen to Scripture and go online, and just EVERYTHING!! I can also pay my bills, thank God.

You don’t realize how much you need something, and how grateful you are that you have it, until you have to go without it for awhile.

It’s a good lesson in gratitude that I must remember to keep on practicing!

As Far As the East Is From the West

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I was driving to a friend’s house the other night (about 3 a.m. on May 28th), and listening to the radio as I was driving. I forget if it was a song, or something the DJ said, but whatever it was, it got me thinking about the phrase, “as far as the east is from the west”, which is a phrase used in Psalm 103,

For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. ~ Psalm 103:11-12, NKJV.

So then I started thinking of all these questions: can you reach the east if you start in the west? Can you reach the west if you start in the east? I mean, you can reach the North Pole if you start from the South Pole, and vice versa, so why can’t you reach the east from the west? The problem is, there is no East Pole, nor is there a West Pole to use as starting points, as there is with the North and the South Poles.

So maybe being able to physically travel from west to east, or from east to west, isn’t the point of the idea.

What is the point, then?

When I asked myself that question, I started thinking about the images that come to mind when I think about the phrase, “as far as the east is from the west…”. Things like the infinitude of God’s love, and the limitless quality of His mercy. Most particularly, however, the image that comes to mind is that of Christ on the cross with His arms stretched out from east to west. It says in the Book of John,

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. ~ John 15:13, NKJV.

Jesus Christ’s whole purpose for stepping down from the Majesty on High and coming to earth was to go to the cross and take humanity’s place, to take the punishment for our sin. That’s how much God loved us, that He would plan, with His Son and the Holy Spirit, from the foundation of the world, to deal with the problem of sin by sending Jesus to earth to take our place and assume our punishment. And a terrible punishment it was, because our sin was terrible. It still is, but Christ’s sacrifice was sufficient to take care of all of it for all time.

To me, this is beauty personified.

Oh my! When I think of that I’m left speechless! I am a sinful person. I’m full of pride, and I make mistakes all the time, every day. One of my many favorite verses in the Bible is from Romans 7,

O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? ~ Romans 7:24, NKJV.

I can so well relate to the Apostle Paul here! The preceding verses describe my day-to-day, sometimes minute-to-minute existence. Romans 7 portrays it so well,

I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. ~ Romans 7:19, NLT.

It’s almost as if God was watching me when He told Paul to write that passage of Scripture! And yet, He loves me and wants me, regardless of my sinfulness.

I thank God for that everyday and in every way.