Category Archives: My Story

Adulting Is a Four Letter Word

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I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to grow up. While I’m sixty-six years old chronologically, I’ve never felt older than sixteen, which is how old I, Sarah, was when I was created at the time of the gang-rape when Catherine Belinda was three years old.

That was the time when Harry got four of his cronies together, and the five of them decided that they were going to take Catherine Belinda to a house owned by one of them, and together the five of them would take turns raping her.

An innocent three year old tiny little girl!!

Harry!! How could you have done this!! What were you thinking!!

I weep for that innocent little girl that was me! I wish I could take her into my arms and do for her what was never done for me! I want to protect her as no one ever protected me!

How could they have done it God!! How could they have committed such an atrocity against an innocent child!!

Logically I know the answer to that question, but given the damage that one event has caused in my life, it’s hard to think about it logically, and everytime I read those cries above I start weeping for the little girl that was me all over again.

Before that event when we were three, we were already multiple, and Catherine Belinda, the original core personality, was doing her best to run things in the midst trying to protect herself from the hell of Harry’s constant abuse.

I, Sarah, didn’t exist at that point.

But during the gang-rape Catherine Belinda decided she was fed up with Harry’s lies and betrayals. She decided that this event was the ultimate betrayal on his part, and she decided that she was done.

She was DONE!!

She had to tell someone. She didn’t know who yet, but she’d find someone. She had to find a way to escape. She couldn’t stand it any longer. And everyone else inside could feel the certainty of her purpose, and they knew she was resolved to make good on this decision.

But they also knew that Harry was serious in his threats. He’d been threatening for at least a year at that point that he would kill her if she ever told anyone what he was doing to her, and he showed her that he was serious by playing Russian Roulette with one of his revolvers between her legs. And he didn’t just do it once. He did it on a regular basis to make sure everyone believed him.

I can only imagine the terror everyone must have felt everytime he pointed that gun at them!

So everyone inside made an executive decision that Catherine Belinda couldn’t be allowed to make good on her promise to find someone to tell about Harry’s abuse, and specifically, the gang-rape that had just occurred. They all concluded that she had to be removed from the scene, and someone else had to be created to take over for her, so she was hidden away and put to sleep, and I was created.

God is the one who gave me the gift of multiplicity, and I’m so grateful for it, because that’s what helped me to survive throughout my childhood. God is also the one who created each new alter everytime there was a need for one, as there was on that day when Catherine Belinda rebelled and had to be taken out of the system. I fully understand why she did it, but she had to be stopped, or Harry would have killed us. He’d made that very clear.

So God created me, Sarah Abigail Kuriakos, to take over for Catherine Belinda, and He named me Sarah Abigail Kuriakos. He chose those names because He wanted me to know how much He loved me.

When He created me, chronologically we were three years old, but I was sixteen. Don’t ask me to explain how that works, because I can’t. All I know is that I was sixteen in a three year old body. I think it had something to do with being able to handle more responsibility than any three year old could possibly manage.

There are certain things one expects of an adult, and in my case, a Christian adult. Things like reading my Bible on a regular basis, going to church every Sunday, controlling my temper, not being rude to other people, getting and keeping a job and supporting myself financially, keeping my home neat and clean, and taking proper care of my cat. These are examples of activities normal adults engage in as a part of daily life.

Actually, I’m pretty much making all that up, because I have no idea what normal adults do in their daily lives. For one thing I doubt if there’s any such thing as a “normal” adult in today’s society, and for another, since I’ve never been an adult, I have no idea what they do. The things I mentioned are things I’d like to be doing in my daily life were I living even a semblance of a normal life.

Now that I’ve figured out this thing, what do I do about it? First off, I need discipline. All the things I want to be doing require a certain amount of discipline, and discipline is what I lack most of all. A few of the things I mentioned above I manage to do quite well, for instance, not being rude to others.

Everything else? Not so much. So, as I started out saying at the beginning of this post, I need to grow up, and I need to figure out how to discipline myself, so I’m doing what I want to be doing on a daily basis.

HELP ME, LORD!!

Writing About Not Being Able to Write

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Of course, by starting out with that title, and then writing about it, by definition, I’m putting the lie to my title, because I’m writing, which I just said I wasn’t able to do. Kind of silly I suppose, but I had to do something to make myself start producing words again.

It’s so frustrating when you have all these ideas roiling and running around inside your head, but you can’t get them out onto paper. I think the common phrase for it is writer’s block. I’ve got a list of about six different ideas that I’m working on for eventual use here, but I can’t seem to develop any of them enough for publication.

So here I am, rambling, in an effort to write something, anything, because that’s what I do. I blog. And if I’m not writing, I’m not blogging.

I mean, the purpose of this blog is to help survivors of child abuse see that it’s possible to emerge victorious, with God’s help, from the hell that was perpetrated on them by evil and selfish others, and if I’m not posting then the information I have to offer isn’t getting out there.

Of course that begs the question, am I offering information that’s actually helping? Is what I say here bringing glory to God, as well as providing anything of substantive value for those who might need it? I certainly hope so, because if it’s not, then I need to change what I’m doing here ~ or stop doing it altogether.

But I don’t want to stop. For one thing I love to write. Writing used to be so difficult for me, worse than pulling teeth, because of one of my alters, named Secret, when I was multiple. I had another alter, named The Secretary, whose job it was to chronicle the goings-on of my system ~ my internal life, if you will, and she too loved to write. But The Secretary and Secret worked at cross purposes to each other all the time, and Secret was much stronger than The Secretary, so The Secretary was always being stifled.

And Secret had good reason to keep us from writing, because The Secretary wanted to write about what the cult was doing to us, as well as about Harry’s abuse, and of course, that absolutely could not be allowed. Harry had been threatening to kill us if we talked for years, so Secret’s efforts to keep us silent were probably keeping us alive as well.

Now that I’m no longer multiple, and I’m no longer being abused, there’s nothing hindering me from writing. So if I can’t write, there must be something else stopping me ~ but I don’t know what it could be. I certainly did get a whole lot written for someone who isn’t able to write, however. Thus far I’ve written 533 words.

Pretty good, I think, considering I’m not able to write. I wonder how many I could write if I was able to write. The thought boggles the mind, but at least I’ve written something I can post. I don’t know if it’s worth anything, and I don’t know if it will help anyone, but it’s better than nothing at all.

God ALWAYS Sees Me

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I’ve felt invisible my whole life. When I was a kid I had to be invisible, at least in the cult, because otherwise they would have abused me in their rituals. My attempts at invisibility were only rarely successful, but I had to try. In fact I created an alter named Invisible Jane who only came out during cult rituals, and her sole purpose was to keep us hidden so we wouldn’t get abused.

Also, paradoxically, while I needed to be invisible in the cult, I figured out that if I could make someone out in the world notice that I was being abused, I might be rescued and the abuse would stop. I had to be very careful how I went about doing this, however, because Harry had been threatening to kill us if we told anyone what he was doing to us since we were about two years old, so I had to talk without saying words.

The solution that came to me ~ I’m sure suggested to me by God ~ was to pick holes in my cuticles, sometimes to the point of infection, which I started doing at around age two. I have a copy of a photograph taken of me when I was four where I was picking my cuticles, and I was wearing a beautiful dress given to me by my grandmother.

Sarah Picking Her Cuticles at Age 4

Unfortunately my efforts came to naught, because no one ever noticed, which makes me feel very sad for the little girl that was me back then. You can read more about this in my post, O God, Let My Blood Cry Out On My Behalf!. It’s based on a Scripture from the Book of Job,

O earth, do not conceal my blood. Let it cry out on my behalf. ~ Job 16:18, NLT.

The reason I’m talking about it here is because, even though Invisible Jane was necessary during my childhood, she’s no longer needed because the abuse stopped many years ago, plus I was integrated back in 2003. But even today I experience situations where I’m treated as if I’m invisible, as if I don’t exist.

It happens most often in situations where I’m out shopping ~ for instance in Barnes & Noble, or a department store buying clothes. I will be standing, looking at some merchandise, clothes or books or whatever, and I’ll have a question that I’ll need to have answered. There will be other people who also have questions, and the sales clerk helps everyone, absolutely everyone but me. And then when I’m the only one left, she turns and walks away as if I don’t exist, when I’m standing right in front of her.

I want to yell at her, “WHAT AM I, CHOPPED LIVER!?”

But I don’t.

I can’t tell you how many times that’s happened to me, and how painful it is everytime it does. But lately I’ve been able to remind myself that I’m not invisible before God.

God ALWAYS sees me. He has seen me and been with me, protecting me and saving my life ever since the beginning. So, while it doesn’t feel good when people ignore me and fail to acknowledge my existence, I can take comfort in the fact that God always sees me, He never ignores or spurns me, and He always listens to me when I talk to Him. And He does this because I am important to Him because He loves me.

I find that incredibly comforting!

Thank you, Jesus!!

 

 

I’ve Made Peace With My Past

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I probably could have broken this into two posts, but it felt like it was important to keep in one piece. So here goes…

I’ve spent the majority of my life hating and regretting my life, and wishing I’d been born to different parents, in a different family, in a different life than the one God gave me. I was also angry, even enraged, at God for placing me in my family of origin, because I felt like He’d done it on purpose, especially considering that He knew what would happen to me in that family. The Bible says God knows the end from the beginning,

Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, “My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.” ~ Isaiah 46:9-10, NIV.

What that said to me was that God knew from the beginning of time that He would place me in a family where I would be abused within an inch of my life, where my mother would try to kill me during my infancy, and my father would play Russian Roulette with his revolver between my legs to threaten me if I told anyone what he was doing to me. Yet He still chose to put me in that family, knowing in advance the terror and horror I would experience throughout my childhood, and knowing as well that I would barely survive to adulthood.

I could not understand how God could do this to an innocent child! What had I ever done to deserve this?

What I couldn’t appreciate or comprehend at the time was that the being I knew as God was completely different from the God of the Bible, and the God of the Bible was who God really was. The one I knew as God was actually patterned after Harry, my biological father. That God was mean, impatient, egotistical, angry, abusive, a rager, selfish, violent, and He hated me. That God had told Harry many times to abuse me and rape me because He, God, hated me.

I didn’t know it then, but that God was actually the devil working through Harry, trying to obliterate me, because God, the real God, the God of the Bible, had a plan for my life, and the devil didn’t want God’s plan to come to pass.

The devil tried hard, to be sure. As I stated above, My mother tried to kill me a number of times during my infancy by drowning me in the bathtub, or suffocating me with a pillow, but was unsuccessful because one of my alters, Deadsally (I had to become multiple in order to survive), would come out each time and make me stop squirming so my mother would think she’d succeeded and stop trying.

Also, Harry started threatening to kill me when I was about two, as I related above, and in addition, I tried suicide nine times as an adult. Fortunately none of those attempts succeeded either.

I’m so glad that God is more powerful than anything the devil can do!

I spent a lot of years feeling angry at God for what I endured, because I didn’t understand that God, being God, and therefore sovereign, can do whatever He pleases, and even though His plan might look perfectly terrible to us, ultimately it’s a good plan. It’s all a question of His sovereignty over my life, and I have to be willing to let Him have control,

But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? ~ Romans 9:20-21, ESV.

I have to trust that God knows more and better than I do, and I’m so grateful for God’s kindness and patience with me as I learn to trust Him. And I’m so grateful that He was willing to patiently wait for me to find out that He’s the exact opposite of everything the devil and Harry made me believe He was, and is.

I discovered that God was a good, kind and loving God over a period of years as I read the Bible from cover to cover several times, and then allowed people to pray for me, and then, finally, over the last four years, I took some online classes through Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM). The courses I took were through RZIM’s Academy, and they were wonderful. They helped me to increase in boldness, and become less fearful when talking to other people about Jesus ~ something that had always been a huge problem for me. They also helped me to be more logical in my thinking.

The class that helped me the most, however, was the one called “Why Suffering?” This course was life-changing for me, because it helped me to see my childhood in a whole different light.

The class presented a new theory of theodicy that really helped me to see things from a new and different perspective. The term “theodicy” was coined by Gottfried Leibnitz back in 1710 to vindicate the existence of an all-good, all-powerful God given the presence of evil in the world.

In the “Why Suffering” course, one particular theory of theodicy was proposed, called the Non-Identity Theodicy Theory. This theory was originally put forth by a man named Vince Vitale, who did his PhD dissertation on it, and the “Why Suffering” course was kind of formulated around it. I’m glad it was, because learning about it set me free.

The basics of Vince Vitale’s theory are that when I think about myself in the world of suffering that we all live in, I’ve often wished myself to be in a world with much less suffering. And then I’ve thought, “Why didn’t God create me in that other world where there’s much less suffering instead of this suffering world that I’m actually in?” But wishing to be created as me in that other fantasy world with no suffering is actually a philosophical and biological impossibility.

I know this because I’ve wished for this very thing with my whole heart many times. Why couldn’t I have been born into a different and better family with parents who loved me and didn’t beat the crap out of me every time I turned around?

As a result of taking the “Why Suffering?” course, I’ve come to realize that my wish, wholehearted as it was, was an impossible one to grant.

Rats!

The reason was all too logical. If I was born into a different family with different parents, I wouldn’t be me, because I would have different DNA. Once I saw that, I wasn’t so sure I wanted to come from a different family, because, while it meant that I wouldn’t have suffered the hell of my childhood, it also meant that I wouldn’t have the close relationship with God that I do.

And my relationship with God has become the greatest and sweetest treasure of my life, one that I wouldn’t give up for anything, not even at the cost of gaining a better childhood with better parents.

I’m reminded of the passage in Mark’s Gospel,

‘Truly I tell you,’ Jesus replied, ‘no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for Me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age…along with persecutions ~ and in the age to come eternal life.’ ~ Mark 10:29-30, NIV.

Am I Afraid of Anger, or Do I Get Angry at the Fear?

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I originally wrote this post back in April of 2013 for a blog that I kept on another blogging site. That blog was shut down by the website without my consent, and I was never able to get it back, so from time to time I’m going to repost some of the posts I wrote from that blog as they seem appropriate to what I’m dealing with now.

This post contains a letter that I wrote to my biological father to deal with some of the unexpressed anger and rage that I feel about what he did to me. My therapist suggested that I write it but not send it, so that’s what I’ve done. Here’s the post:

April 10, 2013 ~ I’ve come to realize that most of the anger I feel and/or express is misplaced and  misdirected, either at myself, or at the people in whatever TV program I’m watching at the time, especially if it’s something having to do with someone being raped or abused, or being treated unjustly or unfairly in anyway. I also get angry at certain news stories having to do with violence against children or women, or about registered sex offenders.

I’ve also found it interesting and a bit puzzling that I’ve never once felt, much less voiced, any anger towards my father for all the awful, horrible things he did to me. I have forgiven him, and I’ve never ever had any desire for revenge, but by the same token, I’ve also never felt any anger towards him. I don’t know if it’s because I’m terrified that he’ll come after me or because I’m afraid I’ll go ballistic if I start letting it out, or just what.

So maybe it’s time for me to do something about it. It’s not good to hold anger inside, especially for long periods of time, and while I’m getting better at not holding my anger inside, when I do let it out it’s almost always directed at the wrong person. So I’m thinking I should do something to express some of it towards my father, instead of towards me and all the other people who aren’t supposed to get it. My therapist says I should write him a letter, but I wouldn’t have to mail it to him. So that’s what I’ll do.

May 15, 2013 ~ I think it’s curious and probably significant that, after I start thinking about writing a letter to my father to tell him how angry I am at him, even if I know he’ll never see it, all of a sudden I avoid this blog like the plague. I wrote the first part of this post at the beginning of April and now it’s the middle of May.

Up until now I’ve always avoided dealing with any real feelings about Harry, and I think the reason is because I’ve been afraid, terrified, actually. Terrified that I wouldn’t be able to control my anger, petrified I’ll go ballistic and do something I’ll regret later ~ all because I’m panic-stricken at the idea of no longer hiding my true feelings about him. As I was sitting here thinking about what to write, I beat a retreat in the middle of this paragraph to play solitaire. Sometimes it helps me to think. Actually I think it’s an excuse for not having to think or write about what I’m supposed to be working on. Anyway, I started playing Solitaire and it wasn’t going the way I wanted it to (I was losing game after game) so I got more and more frustrated, and I ended up hitting myself a whole lot. Which is the point of all this in the first place: I get angry at myself instead of getting angry at the person ~ Harry ~ who’s the one I should be getting angry at.

So I’m going to step out in faith, and instead of being afraid of the anger, I’m going to get angry at the fear, and I’m going to start writing that letter. So here goes.

Harry:

First, I have to say that there are certain things about my childhood for which I’ve always been grateful: the piano lessons, and the love for classical music that you and Mom instilled in me, plus the keen intelligence, analytical mind, and desire for knowledge that have made me a voracious reader, and given me a life-long love of learning.

I have a lot of things to say to you. A LOT. You’re supposed to be my father, at least that’s the title they gave you on my birth certificate. I have to tell you, however, that I don’t buy it. You’ve never been a father to me. I’ve had a lot of memories of things you did to me when I was a child that no father should ever do to ANY child, much less his own daughter ~ that no human being should ever do to any other human being. Even animals shouldn’t be treated the way you treated me. So I have a hard time calling you my father.

You abused me. You abused me physically, verbally, emotionally, sexually, and spiritually. You made me hate you, and you made me hate myself. Everytime you abused me you told me you had to do it because God hated me. Everytime you abused me you told me I was as ugly as if someone had thrown acid in my face. I don’t know why you felt the need to say those awful, hateful things to me. It took me many, many years of healing before I could believe that God didn’t hate me, and many more years after that before I could believe that anyone, much less God, could love me. I’m still working on whether or not I’m ugly. I think I can finally say that I’m not ugly, but I’m not sure I can take it any farther than that yet.

I’ve finally decided that maybe you told me those things because you were projecting onto me how you felt about yourself. However, that’s no excuse for that kind of cruelty! Do you have any idea the kind of pain just those two statements spoken over and over into my life have caused me? Agony! Do you hear me? Agony! You caused me years and years of anguish and agony, plus nine suicide attempts just from those two statements, not to mention the torment from all the other horrific and terrible things you did to me.

You abused me within an inch of my life. The only reason I survived infancy is because God gave me the ability to become multiple.

You forced us to lie about what you were doing to us so you could keep on beating, raping, and otherwise assaulting the life out of us. You told us that if we ever told anyone what you were doing to us you would kill us, and then you played Russian Roulette with your revolver between our legs to make sure we believed you. There was no way we could have known back then that the gun was loaded with blanks. We were children, tiny children, so we had no choice but to believe you, and we had to become liars that no one could trust as a result. You stole our integrity,  our innocence, our childhood, and our hope when you did that, because you left us with no recourse and no ability to seek rescue.

Do you remember our habit of picking our cuticles? We started doing that at a very early age, as young as age two. Do you know why we did that? Because you told us we couldn’t tell anyone what you were doing to us, so we had to come up with a way to tell people without using words that we were in peril. So we picked holes in our cuticles, sometimes to the point of getting them infected. Tragically for us, our efforts were all for naught, because no one ever caught on or reached out to help.

You used rape as punishment for wrongdoing, and you kept changing the rules so we never knew what they were. It didn’t matter what we did or how we did it, it was never good enough, so no matter what, we were wrong and had to be punished, which meant you had yet another excuse to rape and/or hit us. I don’t know what we did to become the brunt of your rage; I doubt we did anything. We think you just needed a scapegoat, and we were small and weak enough that we couldn’t fight back.

And then there was the time when we were three when you decided that just raping us yourself wasn’t enough; you needed to spice it up by getting your friends involved. So you orchestrated a little gang-rape with four of your cronies. I don’t know what you were hoping to accomplish that day, but it certainly couldn’t have been anything good.

Do you have any idea of how traumatic that event was for us? That one incident was so devastating, so damaging to us that it, and you, caused the creation of 12, that’s right, twelve, new alters. It was so horrific that Catherine Belinda, the core personality, decided she’d had enough of your lies and betrayals. She determined that she couldn’t stand your abuse any longer, so despite the risk and menace inherent in your threats, she resolved to tell someone, anyone, what you were doing to us. But God and the rest of us, knew that you meant business when you said you’d kill us if we told. So God and the rest of us hid Catherine Belinda away and put her to sleep, and kept her that way for the next fifty years. In her place a new alter was created to run things. The new alter’s name was Sarah Abigail Kuriakos, but she answered to Catherine Belinda’s name so no one would notice or suspect anything was different.

You know, all we wanted was to be accepted and loved. That’s all any child wants. Was that too much to ask? We don’t think it was, but you couldn’t even give us that. A child is a gift from God, yet you treated us like trash. You acted like we were your personal property to kick around and beat up as you pleased. We were a small, innocent child! You were nothing more than a cowardly bully, picking on your own daughter, someone who was too small and defenseless to stand up for ourselves. If you’re going to pick on someone, pick on someone your own size!

I think the thing that hurts me more than anything else about all the horrors you visited on me/us throughout the years of my childhood is that you made it nigh unto impossible for me to have a relationship with a man, or with God. I’m terrified of men and I’m terrified of sex. As a consequence I’ve never been able to consider even going out on a date, much less anything more serious, because I might have to let him touch me, and ultimately I might have to marry him and have sex with him.

Fortunately, as far as a relationship with God is concerned, God had other plans, and it’s only by His grace and mercy that I’m alive to tell this story, or that I know anything about Him at all. I owe my life to God and to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and it’s only because of His healing power that I’m able to trust Him or believe in Him. I will never be able to express enough gratitude to God for all He has done for me in setting me free from all that you did to me. One thing you should know however, is that the God of Love who healed me won’t allow me to hate you anymore.

That’s right. Jesus loves you just as much as He loves me or anyone else, without reservation or condemnation, and because He’s healed me, He’s helped me to forgive you for everything you did to me. And yes, I have forgiven you. I don’t want revenge, I don’t desire any kind of evil to come to you, and I wish only good for you. This teeny weeny paragraph stating my forgiveness may sound a little simplistic and trite, like nothing more than a bunch of platitudes after my great long letter expressing a lot of pent up rage and vitriol. In truth I was only expressing my heart and my truth as I saw it. But my forgiveness is real and heartfelt, and the ball is now in your court. It’s your choice as to whether you will accept or reject it, because with my forgiveness, I’m also offering reconciliation with you and the possibility of a relationship. I don’t know if that’s something you desire, but my offer is there if you choose to accept it.

That’s all for now. I wish peace with God and health for your body and soul. I know that you now suffer from emphysema and are on 24-hour oxygen, and I wish healing for you from that as well.

Blessings and Peace,

Sarah

Well, thankfully it’s finished. As an addendum, I want to add a little bit of history to bring the story of the multiplicity aspect up to date.

As I said in the middle of the letter, at age 27, in October of 1980, I changed my name from Catherine Belinda Pfaff to Sarah Abigail Kuriakos. At the time I was only just beginning to have memories of being abused and I had no idea I was multiple. I thought I was changing my name to cut myself off from a heritage of abuse, and I thought I was choosing a new name. So I chose three names that were Bible names or words with really good meanings, and that meant things I had never meant to anyone before: Sarah means, “Princess,” and Sarah, of course, was Abraham’s wife and the mother of Isaac. Abigail means, “a father’s joy, or a joy to the Father,” and Abigail was one of David’s wives, and a virtuous woman in the Bible. And Kuriakos means, “belonging to God” and is used twice in the New Testament.

In reality, I was already Sarah Abigail Kuriakos, but I was consciously unaware of it. Everyone inside decided that the name of the body, which had been Catherine Belinda up until then, should be changed to match my name so there would be more congruence between inside and outside. It made sense. Catherine Belinda was hidden away and asleep, and had been for a long time, and would remain that way indefinitely, so it didn’t make any sense to keep using her name. It made much more sense to use my name because I was running things, so we found a lawyer amongst the people at my church, and we went to court and change it to my name. And strangely enough, the change wasn’t at all hard to adapt to. It was like that should have been my name all along. I’d had this weird feeling for awhile that Catherine Belinda was a name that belonged to someone else ~ which turned out to be true, interestingly enough, in a strange sort of way. Plus all my friends said that Sarah Abigail fit me much better than Catherine Belinda did. Funny thing! Maybe that was because Sarah Abigail was actually my name and Catherine Belinda wasn’t.

And being Sarah Abigail Kuriakos has made a huge difference in my life, and brought me closer to God. Everytime I hear the names I hear their meanings, and God has used that to heal me a tiny bit everyday. Plus I’m no longer multiple. In October of 2001 I decided I wanted to seek integration, so I went to the pastor of the church I was going to at the time, and asked him if they could help me with that. I knew that the process of integration takes many years, often in excess of ten, if it’s done in therapy, and I wanted God to do the healing, not some shrink. So my pastor and some people in the church who knew of my background set up a team of prayer warriors, and they prayed for me once a month over a period of 18 months, and by the end of that time I was fully integrated. It was a wonderful thing. Instead of being many I was one ~ for the first time in my entire life! There was no longer any chaos or confusion inside. Blessed peace! Wow!! Praise God!! And the really cool thing was that the process was complete right around my fiftieth birthday. And just before the final integration was done, God woke up Catherine Belinda and brought her out of hiding so that she could be integrated into the whole along with everyone else. Amazingly, God had been watching over her the whole time, and had been causing her to grow while she was asleep, so when she came back it wasn’t a huge shock to her system. I was seeing a really good Christian therapist at the time, and she was fully supportive of the prayer group’s work. I remember the day when Catherine Belinda woke up. It was March (?) of 1999 and the day of the First-Brush-Stroke Ceremony at the Bowers Museum for Raúl Anguiano’s first mural, and I had been invited, amazingly enough. I was working at Pearl Arts and Crafts Store in Huntington Beach, and Raúl had come into the store for his art supplies for the ceremony and for the mural completion to follow, and I had decided that I was going to be there when he came in, come what may. So when he came in, I was there and I helped him get what he needed. He was such a nice guy! So he invited me to the ceremony, and he allowed me to come and watch him paint the mural afterward, over a period of weeks. Wow! And then he gave me a gift of one of his small lithographs, personally signed by him to me!

Well anyway, the day of the ceremony, I had this strange feeling all day long that someone new was using the body, that it wasn’t really me. My eyes felt hypersensitive to light, like I’d been in a very dark place for a long time, and my eyes needed to have time to adjust to the light. Fortunately I had a therapy session that afternoon before I had to be at the ceremony at the Bowers, so I spent my session talking about the weird sensations I’d been having all day, and what they might mean. We finally came to the conclusion that Catherine Belinda was waking up so she, along with everyone else could go to the ceremony at the Bowers. It seemed like God had planned it that way, so who was I to argue>

And then there was the whole situation with Klepto, who was a little four-year-old girl who stole things because that was the only way she knew of to get what she wanted. Of course stealing is, and always has been, absolutely antithetical to everything I am, so when she came out and started stealing stuff from work (I was still working at Pearl at the time), I got very upset. The first thing we did was talk to her and tell her she couldn’t do this. She had to take everything back, and put it back where she got it without getting caught, because I didn’t want to lose my job. Then, on the advice of my therapist, we changed her name to Elizabeth, because Klepto as a name was like a self-fulfilling prophecy. She came out one more time in a toy store where she tried to shoplift a game. Fortunately I came out and stopped her before she could leave the store with it, but it was rather embarrassing. And then she was integrated into the whole, and was no longer a problem, thank God!

So, God gave me the most amazing and wonderful birthday gift for my fiftieth birthday, and I’ve been eternally grateful ever since. I can’t thank Him enough. Certainly I’ve had my struggles since then. There was the whole seven-year period where I was angry at God because I couldn’t understand how He could allow me to be abused. It turned out that what I really didn’t understand was about God’s sovereignty, and that I didn’t have the right to challenge it, which was what I had been doing. And then I realized that all I really wanted to know was where God was when I was being abused. And ultimately God showed me. He showed me that He had been right there with me, protecting me by making me multiple, saving my life by creating new alters as they were needed. Each time there was an abuse incident that was severe enough to require a new alter, God put His finger on my personality in the exact spot where He wanted the split to occur. It was God who created Sarah Abigail Kuriakos, and chose her name ~ which gives the meaning of the names even more significance when I think of it in that light. Wow…

Well, I guess I’d better finish this and post it. It’s turned out to be VERY long, a lot longer than I expected, though all of it was important and needed to be said.

Until next time then…

In Which I Purchase a Beautiful Painting

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I bought a painting. Yup, a beautiful painting by an artist who lives in Massachusetts, whose name is Jeffrey Hayes. It’s an oil painting, 17 x 24 inches, and it’s entitled “Makers of Yesterday’s Future”.

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The reason I write about it here is because of what the Lord showed me about the painting.

The artist, Jeffrey Hayes, was generous and kind enough to allow me to make payments on it, but unaccountably, late in the process, I began to have second thoughts about buying it. I’m not sure why that is, but I did.

Then, yesterday morning, as I was bringing it upstairs from my car, God revealed to me that this painting is a metaphor for my life, and in particular, the process I’m going through as He heals me from my childhood. Now, for those of you who don’t understand when I say that God showed me something, I’m not saying anything super-spiritual, even though it may sound that way. What I’m saying is nothing more than that God planted an idea in my mind.

That idea, however, made a huge difference in how I viewed the painting. Now, instead of having regret about purchasing it, I’m very glad, and I’m excited about hanging it and being able to look at it everyday, because looking at it all the time will be a constant reminder of God’s love for me, and HIs continuing work in my life as He heals me.

The process, and the painting, reminds me of the verse in Ephesians that says,

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. ~ Ephesians 2:10, NLT.

The word masterpiece in this verse is “poiēma” in the Greek. The English word poem comes from it, and other translations render this word as workmanship.

Praise God!

Love, the Highest Ethic

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An ethic is defined as a set of moral principles, especially ones relating to or affirming a specified group, field, or form of conduct.

In Ravi Zacharias’ latest book, The Logic of God: 52 Christian Essentials for the Heart and Mind, which was released in April, he wrote,

…love is the supreme ethic. Where there is the possibility of love, there must be the reality of free will. Where there is the reality of free will, there will inevitably be the possibility of sin. Where there is sin, there is the need for a Savior. Where there is a Savior, there is the hope for redemption. Only in the Judeo-Christian worldview does this sequence find its total expression and answer.

~ Ravi Zacharias, The Logic of God: 52 Christian Essentials for the Heart and Mind, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, 04/2019, pg 3.

I love this quote. I especially love the logic of it. It shows me that God is logical, in addition to all His other amazing attributes. He’s a God of love and He’s logical. How cool is that!

I’ve been on a kick about free will lately. I think the most important part of what Ravi Zacharias said here is the part about love, combined with the part about free will. Without love, free will is an impossibility, and without free will, human beings wouldn’t know how to love, because they’d be nothing more than robots, all of which means that free will and love are inextricably intertwined. And what follows after that is a kind of cascade of logic.

And then God brings it down to meet me where I live. God loved me so much that He gave me a free will so I could choose whether I wanted to love Him back, or reject His love. He could have said, I love you, and you will love Me back, and that’s the way it will be.

But if He’d done it that way, I wouldn’t have had a choice in the matter, and I would have been a love-robot, or a love-slave, loving God by rote. That wouldn’t have been real love, though, would it? That would be slavish obedience; Yes, Master, No, Master; not obeying because you adored Him so much that you would do anything for Him out of love.

God wanted humans to love Him freely, not because they had to, and not because He’d commanded them to. So He took a risk, a huge risk, and created every human being with a completely free will so they could make their own choices. And if that person chose to reject God and His love for them, then so be it. But if that human accepted God’s love, then he’d receive everything in Heaven and on earth that God had to offer.

The way I see it, God gave me the most incredible gift anyone could ever present to me, the gift of salvation. And I didn’t have to do anything at all to earn it. It was completely free. All I had to do was believe it was mine and receive it.

I knew I needed to be saved, desperately, but I couldn’t understand why God, Master of the Universe, Creator of all Things, would want to save me, probably the worst sinner ever, though if He wanted to do so I wouldn’t argue with Him. I’d just accept it. I’m not one to turn down free gifts! Not me!

Even at that, it took me many years before I could trust Him enough to believe that He meant what He’d said in His Word, because of all the lies my father (Harry) had told me. He had to abuse me because God hated me, and I was as ugly as if someone had thrown acid in my face were the two main ones, because they were a litany he repeated over and over and over again until they were ingrained in my nervous system. The guy in the white robe posing as God, sitting on the throne, who sometimes looked like Harry, telling the others what to do to me in the cult rituals, was the other big one. 

It took many, many years of consistently reading and studying the Bible before God was able to replace the poison and lies with the truth. But it did happen, and still is happening even today. God is still healing me, because there are times where I find myself falling back into old ways, and believing old lies. It doesn’t happen very often anymore, but it does happen from time to time. Now I know that God thinks I’m beautiful. That’s a truth I hold onto very tightly.

The upshot of it is that I’m incredibly grateful to God for everything He’s done for me. Not only has He saved me so that I’m able to know Him, and I get to go to Heaven when I die, the best double whammy ever, but He’s healed me ~ and is continuing to heal me ~ from the worst childhood ever. And if that wasn’t enough, He’s supplied my needs beyond all that I could ask or think. I never knew I could be this happy, or have this kind of peace or joy! My gratitude to Him makes me want to serve Him, makes me desire to love Him back, just because He’s been so good to me!

I know I still blow it, I still sin from time to time ~ far more often than I’d like. But when I do mess up, I pray that God will forgive me, because I value much too highly my close relationship with Him to want to stay in sin. Humans can’t help but sin, simply by the very fact that we’re human, but once we’re born-again, we have the Holy Spirit living inside us, and He helps us to not sin.

And that’s, once again, where our free will comes in. We can still make choices one way or the other. The Holy Spirit, being our Helper, aids and strengthens us, if we’ll take His assistance, to choose the right way. He’ll help us to avoid temptation,

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:13, NLT. 

Jesus called the Holy Spirit variously, the Comforter, the counselor, the advocate, and the helper, depending on the translation,

“When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me… ~ John 15:26, NASB.

But we still have to make the choice to take the Holy Spirit’s assistance. I still have to make the choice to take His help, follow His advice, and sometimes I don’t, I’m ashamed to say.

Interestingly, I can still feel God’s Presence with me, even when I do sin. He never leaves me, He never forsakes me, just as He promised in His Word,

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” ~ Hebrews 13:5, ESV.

It makes me want to try ever harder to not sin at all!

God so amazing!

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!!!