Sunday, October 5, 2014

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Problem with Details

Here is the problem with telling anyone you know the details of your abuse.  Once they know some of details they will automatically want to not believe them, it is too horrible to believe.  They can, and will, discount little details here and there saying they are not sure they believe all of your account.  Telling people the details is getting the focus all wrong.  It does not matter weather or not the victim knows the details all exactly correct.  It does not matter weather or not people clinically understand trauma memories and how they are recorded and remembered. The likelihood is high they do not understand trauma memories, and their lack of knowledge will cause them to misjudge perfectly normal variances in details. It is also highly likely that people listening might become confused at the complex details you tell and then blame their own confusion on the accuracy of the details.  Telling people the details gives them the false sense of knowledge and understanding.  They falsely assume they have knowledge about what you are saying, and they falsely believe they understand what happened.  What really matters is the victim was abused.  What mattes is the perpetrator is an abuser.  These are the facts that are the most important.   If someone you tell looses sight of these important facts and gets themselves all caught in evaluating things they have no training , expert experience or firsthand knowledge in, then it is likely they are not ready to support you.  Move on.  In the end what they think will not change what happened to you.  You know what you know.  

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I Am Free

I just reported my father to his church.  The fall out of that was horrendous.  Ending with my cherished sister (whom I perceived to be my best friend) and other less cherished family members turning on me.
My sisters actually helped defend my father, and built up a case against my statements.  Their argument against my statements was that I was so mentally confused that I mixed up dreams and reality, and I could no longer tell the difference between true memories and dreams.    Before this back stab they, well two of them, my good friend sister and another sister, she asked me to trust… Before this back stab they pretended to support me….  They asked me to trust them and tell them my story.  When I felt afraid to trust them they told me something was wrong with me, that I could not trust people who deserved my trust.  And I believed them.  I wished I could trust them more.
I told them my story.  And they listened with a critical ear, while pretending (not very well) to be understanding.  Every time I got a hint their understanding and pretense was not real they told me the issue was my misspreception of reality.   So I trusted them.  I let them belittle me into trust.  I let go of my own perceptions of their actions, and let them belittle my intuition to not trust.  And they listened with a critical ear to my stories.
They pretended to be supportive.  While they built up a stronger defense for my dad then he could have ever built up on his own. They claimed to not be under his influence.  And indeed I do not believe that my old good-friend sister has had any direct communication with him.   But still… Even without him there… They critically listened to my story, took it apart, looked for flaws…
When they found an apparent contradiction they did not trust me as a source of truth.  They did not ask me to clarify.  They did not ask me to explain.  Which is what is done when someone trust another.  No instead they took their own misunderstand and mis interpretation of my story to be proof that I was mixing up dreams and reality.  But the fact remains that they are wrong.  I turned in hundreds of pages of statements to the church.  I turned in hundreds of pages of journals and statements to the state.  Not a single one of those pages included any part of a dream stated as reality.  I simply did not do it, ever.
I did have an awful dream.  I told it to my sister (who I was asked to trust) as it being a dream.  That dream symbolized reality. That dream symbolized truth.  I always knew that and viewed the dream as a symbol of truth, though not an actual statement of facts.
Just before this I was asked to write my story out for a book.  I was challenged to write my very complicated story into an extremely shortened version.  In writing my story I had a specific idea I wanted to portray.   I found that every time I told this idea out it took pages and pages to tell with the facts of what happened.  I needed a way to represent this pattern in a much shorter space.  That is when I turned to the symbols of the dream.  I took artistic licence and stated the dream as the shortest concisest way to explain what it felt like for me.
Artistic licence is something survivor writers do night and day, all the time.  Artistic licence is what allows us to keep ourselves anonymous.  Artistic licence is what allows us to convey our stories without re triggering our selves.
In addition this online story was written during a time when I was processing my relationship with my mother, and specific memories of how she enabled the sexual abuse.  Really that short story of my abuse was more about my mothers relationship with me then my fathers abuse.
Time passed, and I forgot the specifics of  my online story.  And I found I wanted to share more, and trust more my less trustworthy sister.  I remembered that the story had allot to do with my mother, and I thought for a short time that this online story would be what I would read to my mother.  In that short time I communicated with my less trusted sister that this was my plan.  She read that and came away with the belief that my focus was strongly on my mothers enabling… well that was partly true… that was true at the time I wrote that story.
My sister didnot believe my stories of my mothers enabling.  She believed I fabricated it all and misunderstood it all.  And I am sure she was acting on fear of societies judgment of enablers.  Which has been a large point of conflict inside of me often.  Wanting to find a way to tell my mother what happened without bringing down the wrath of society on her.  Wanting to find a way for her to open up and heal instead of defend against the wrath of society.
But… I had another fatal flaw… My memories were of a very young age, and abuse at a very young age.  My memories pointed to the strong likely hood that my sisters were all abused too.  But they can not see this or face this.  And they felt a strong need to defend against the chance that I would tell anyone they might have been abused.
I had another fatal flaw…. I wanted to tell everyone in our lives.  I wanted everyone who ever knew my father to know he was a pedophile so they could defend themselves against him.
But you see… If I did this I would not only expose the pedophile.  But I would expose my enabling mother.  And I would expose my sisters who are still in denial.  This public knowledge of their abuses did not fit well into their careers, life, and social plans.
So it became clear to my sisters. I must be stopped.  I must be invalidated. To protect themselves. To protect my mother…. Even if… it meant they became my dads strongest protectors also…
Now I am a lone woman.  Without my childhood family.  I still cherish and maintain a few wonderful cousin connections.  I still have my husband and my kids.  I still have my husbands family, though there are some conflicts there I hope we can work out.
But I am free.  I am free of a life time of trying to live up to their expectations. I am free of everything I did wondering how they would see it. How they wold judge it.  I am free of their pretense.  I am free of their feigned care.  I am free of their fake love.  I am free of their manipulations. I am free from their selfishness.  I am free of their accusations.  They are not part of my life.  And I no longer try to play the impossible game of being good enough for them. Truth is I could never win at that game. And I am so relieved to be done with it.
But this freedom is a sense of vertigo.  I am like an astronaut floating out into space with nothing around me.  I have nothing to push off of.  I am just afloat.  I do not know what motivates me. I do not know what I care to do.  I do not know what I value.  I am just floating.  I try sometimes to move in a direction, but then my head just gets full of the bull$#!T lies I was raised in, and I see the lies.  Someday I will push off and move in my own direction. Someday I will get my drive back. But now I just float, free of direction, free of drive.  It is very strange for me.  The one truth that was always true about me is that I ALWAYS got back up and kept fighting, I always got up and tried again.  Now I do not know even what to fight for, or what to try for.
Some day I will find my jet pack and go in a direction.  Someday I will take this crap and turn it into my life.  But today I float.

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Friday, May 23, 2014

What Abuse Survivors Need From Church Leaders

The following post was written by my husband, DeltaHotel (DH). Think of him as a "guest columnist". Hopefully he will write further at other times and give some additional perspective on surviving abuse from a spouse's point of view.
-- Jean Marie

What Abuse Survivors Need From Church Leaders
Written by Delta Hotel
May 2014

To any priesthood leaders that are reading this, Thanks for your time. Please get your own spiritual confirmation of the principles that I'm about lay out. Please don't take my word for anything.

First I want to outline my goals and hopes for this writing. My wife has been feeling the need to report her situation to the church since her early teens but circumstances have never been such that it was possible until now. We went to our church leaders without any expectations that the process would in any way undo any of what has happened. The state has investigated all of the details and they assure us that except for the statute of limitations her's would be a very solid case, but the statute of limitations prevents the criminal justice system from taking any action whatsoever on my wife's abuse. This is the case for survivors more often that you know.

Per D&C 134:10 The church has only the power to excommunicate and withdraw its fellowship. This would be perceived by us an expression of solidarity and an effort to extend comfort, but I would not expect any action within the power of the church to actually repair the harms that have been suffered by the offender's victims. The atonement of Christ is the the only mechanism that can have any real effect in correcting the wrongs that the survivors have suffered.

In short these 5 things are what we asked of the priesthood leaders involved in our situation, and I would suggest them to other church leaders as a blueprint for handling any case of childhood sex abuse (incest in particular):

1 – I recommend that you would consider thoughtfully the information that the survivor will present to you, and that you will make this consideration under the guidance of the spirit.

2 - I recommend that you would additionally actively seek and consider the opinions of any professionals that may have worked with the survivor's case, namely any criminal investigators that may have worked the case as well as the survivor's counselor if they have one.

3 - I would ask that you seek the guidance of the spirit as you determine for yourself what really happened regarding the events that are described to you, and the effect that they have had upon the survivor. A "finding of fact" this is called in the legal world (it may seem premature to make a finding of fact before speaking to all of the related parties, but as I will explain this order is deliberate)

4 - Then I would ask that you speak with the offender so that he may have an opportunity to make a confession should he see fit to do so. I feel to warn you that great care must be taken at this stage, and I will say more on this later.

5 - After making a finding of fact and hearing the offender's statements I would ask that you seek the spirit as you render a decision (“conclusion of law” is a relevant legal term), and ask you to remember that you are acting on behalf of the whole church as you act, or as you do not act - because in cases like this taking no action also sends a message. The eyes of many will be upon you at this point. As you will come to see the offenders in these cases typically have had many other victims besides the survivor that you will meet. Those victims will all be silently watching, and you will be speaking to all of them in the name of the church as you render your decision. I do not envy you this responsibility.

These things are all that I feel its fair to expect of a priesthood leader.

As you go along it will be useful for you to understand a few general characteristics of pedophiles (and sex offenders in general).

First you should understand that a person may steal just one time, from greed or to meet some urgent need, and then have no more inclination to steal. A person may commit adultery or fornication just one time, in a moment of weakness or lust, and go on to have no more inclination to do so. A person may even murder just one time in a fit of rage, and then go the rest of their life with no more desire to kill. But pedophiles are fundamentally different, PEDOPHILES ARE SERIAL OFFENDERS IN NEARLY EVERY CASE (this assertion is supported by the professional literature).

Pedophiles must necessarily be serial offenders, because pedophilia can't be committed in a rash moment. It requires significant set up and preparation, what is professionally called "grooming." Grooming is a process where the perpetrator prepares the victim by taking mental control of them so they can safely be abused over and over and not report afterward. In my wife's case her mind was “booby trapped” to self destruct rather than report the abuse (she literally became suicidal). The perpetrator also prepares those around the victim to mistrust the victim and to discount any report that the victim may attempt to make. The manipulation is extensive and it is deliberate, it is never accidental. And the grooming stays with the victim thus making them an easier target for other offenders later on, even if they are only partially groomed at first.

Other details that you should remember: perpetrators always look polished and speak smooth or flattering words (think Korihor, or whited sepulchers). They bear no resemblance whatsoever to a “one-eyed man” – which I will come back to later.

On the other hand victims, especially child victims that are grown to adulthood, almost always have an an image problem of some kind. They frequently have bad habits that less polite people would call sins. Things like alcoholism, drug abuse, or sexual deviancy. And other markers of a coarse character as well; like self scaring, poor hygiene, tattoos and piercings, poor self-esteem, a fondness for extremes in dress, music, media and other entertainment (adrenaline junkies etc.) They may have psychological problems, anxiety (especially when discussing the abuse - they might stutter, blink, zone out or lose their train of thought frequently), anger management issues, eating disorders, anti-social tendencies the list goes on and on. ... And as a church leader you should also be aware that they often leave their church - any church that they may have been a part of - because of feeling misunderstood, judged and rejected.

All of this serves to isolate the victim from any support systems and polite society in general and by contrast it also serves to embed the perpetrator into that polite society more firmly. And this is consistent with the verses found in 2 Corinthians 11:14-15 "for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works."

This is particularly ironic, because the apparent flaws in the victims are the fruits of the abusers actions, and then become the evidence in the eyes of the community (including all to often the rank and file members of the church) for the superiority of the abuser over the victim (who is inferior by all outward appearances). It's a double win for the predator. They get to point to the evidence of what they did - the mess that THEY MADE in another person's life - as evidence that their accuser should not be trusted or believed.

The responsibility for these "sins" or this anger, or this “failure to forgive” (which all of these things are really manifestations of abuse), the responsibility for all of this placed back on the victims with never a thought given to the actual source of the problems. Think about that last part again for just a minute.

I will wait …

What is the source of the problems?

Got your answer yet?

Ok, let's to move on...

So the victims are often told to repent and forsake their sins, and to let the atonement in to their lives so that they can heal and forgive etc., but seldom does anyone ever try to understand the underlying causes or offer any real acknowledgment of the abuse itself. This is a second great tragedy, that heaps itself on top of the original tragedy in the lives of survivors.

By the way … “failure to forgive” may be a sin, but it's not one that requires priesthood authority to resolve. It's not one that affects a person's membership standing in the church. So please, please, PLEASE, you priesthood leaders when you encounter someone that is angry over their abuse, please be so, so very careful that your counsel to them does not come across to them as though their anger is really the greater issue in the situation (because its not *).

You naturally want to help. And your first instinct is to apply the atonement of Jesus Christ. But please remember, and please make clear to any survivor that you counsel with, that part of the atonement was for the “forgiveness of sins”, and part if it was “so that the Lord may know how to succor his people.”

Abuse survivors are groomed to take on overly large and disproportionate feelings of guilt and to take disproportionate responsibility for what happened to them. They need to be reminded of this second part of the atonement much more than the first. Survivors need understanding, they need love, and they need time to work with the Lord to address their anger (again I reiterate “failure to forgive” is not a sin that requires priesthood authority to resolve. Yes, as a priesthood leader you can help them, but they CAN do it just between them and the Lord as well. So don't present this as a matter that REQUIRES priesthood authority to resolve or you will be seen as accusing them of something).

Abuse survivors do not need forgiveness from the Lord as much as they need “succor” from Him. And if you insinuate anything to the contrary then you run a grave risk of alienating them from the church, and putting the church in a position of seeming to go along with the perpetrator and the grooming that makes them feel culpable for their own abuse. DON'T DO THIS. Please, please, please don't do this.

It's additionally ironic that the abusers reserve for themselves any benefit of the doubt, but at the same time position the community to deny the benefit of the doubt to the victims. This is why its such an up hill battle for victims of abuse to report. Its easier to disappear into self medicating with booze or drugs, or join a counter culture or even to commit suicide, than to break free from the mental controls of the grooming and turn to fight the abuser on their own turf, with no allies, and on a battlefield that you know is slanted heavily against you. When some one shows the courage to face those dangers and those terrible odds they deserve to be heard out with compassion, and they deserve your respect and you careful and thoughtful consideration of what they have to say.

All of this is not intended to be a criticism of the church. But you need to see that this is what perpetrators use the church for. They co-opt it and form it into a badge of honor for themselves as well as a club to beat their victims with one more time. And too often the lay leaders in the church play right into this by alienating survivors of abuse from the church out of a well meaning, but dangerous, lack of awareness.

Moving on I want to make a little prediction and to warn you. When you speak to the offender you will hear statements that are subtly crafted to undermine your opinion of the survivor. Things that are intended to portray her as an unreliable source from which to draw reliable facts. You will hear statements that will prey on your natural tendency to extend the benefit of the doubt to the offender. You will hear things that are intended to create an equivalency in your mind between yourself and the offender. You may even begin to consider how you would feel if you were in his place. In short you will hear lies and you will hear statements of false concern for the survivor come from the abuser (and more than likely from others around the two of them as well) that are intended to show the offender in a sympathetic light, while simultaneously discrediting the survivor's character and minimizing her account of events. And you will hear minimized and partial confessions, used to cover up much more grievous misdeeds.

I want to express to you also that the survivor probably (and with justification) has grave concern that the things that she tells you need to be kept in confidence and NOT be shared with the offender (or any other person that has any level of contact with the offender). The reason she feels the need for this confidentiality, and the reason that I ask you to make a finding of fact BEFORE speaking to the offender, is that an offender will never confess to misdeeds that he is not accused of. The offender will wait until he knows what you know (either he will get the information from a 3rd party or he will tease it out of you without your realizing it) and then he will confess to an altered or minimized version of what has been alleged.

He will do this in a way that will make the actual allegations seem over heated or overblown or spiteful. There is also a strong chance that he will feign concern for the accuser and say something to the effect of "Wow, I pity them, they must be so confused and in such pain to make such an accusation. I can see why they would say it that way, but what really happened is this ..." then he will insert some denial or some straw-man version of events and confess in tears to this alternate and minimized narrative.

This is a trick. Consider the following statements and how they relate to this scenario:

"Those who put all their ingenuity and energy into fooling us usually succeed." ~Malcom Gladwell (author)

"People feel like [… they] need to hear both sides of the story. There's not two sides to this story. There's only one and that's the survivor, and being truthful about the abuse that happened, and having that come to justice." ~Desirae Brown (of the 5 browns)

"There is only right and wrong. There is only supporting the victim or supporting the perpetrator. [And] No one should ever be doing that." ~Gregory Brown (of the 5 browns)

You just watch the offender. You watch him and you will see the moment that he knows what has been claimed against him he will very quickly (perhaps even right on the spot) come forward with some alternate version of events to minimize your perception of his misdeeds. This is a clear mark of a false repentance.

This leads me point out something that you will NOT hear from the offender. Once armed with the facts that the survivor will present to you, you will not hear him confess to something worse than what you already know about, or anything new and unrelated to the statements against him. This is because genuine confession and genuine repentance is not a part of his program. It's not part of any pedophile's program. Repentance would require a turning from sin, which would first require a rejection of it, and this you will not find in any pedophile. They love their sin, they don't want to give it up. They love their smooth public persona and they don't want to have it tarnished.

The offender may appear to play along with church discipline. This is so he can turn it into a feather in his cap later (which is precisely what happened within my wife's family after her father's faulty church discipline in the 90's). Another thing that you will hear pedophiles and their defenders say in general is "The state looked into all of this before and they found it was nothing." Unstated is the mention of the fact that abuse survivors are so easy to disbelieve and are pre-programmed through the grooming process to self-sabotage their reporting. And that laws often have very narrow requirements for what can be prosecuted.

It may seem hard to believe, but due to the difficulty in reporting there is a good chance that every allegation of sex abuse that you have ever heard of was real. Though the perception of the public is that false reporting of sex crimes is common, it is in fact vanishingly rare.

At some point I realize that I run the risk of sounding paranoid, and of ascribing “superhuman mind control powers” to pedophiles. I am aware of my vulnerability to being charged with putting forth an unfalsifiable hypothesis (see this link for a refutation). But I assure you that I have both my feet on the ground, and these people are just as slippery and just as dangerous as I make them sound. If you don't want to believe me then look around a little more. Talk to a professional counselor that has handled sex offenders. Talk to a cop that works these cases. They will tell you the same things.

In theory pedophiles should be able to repent, but in practice they do not.

Jesus said in Matthew chapter 18 (speaking of those that harm children):
"But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. ... Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire. Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones" (Matt 18:6,8-10)

If thine eye offend thee pluck it out, and cast it from thee! A repentant pedophile, if you were ever to find one, would look like the spiritual equivalent of a one-eyed man. Sex offenders have too carefully crafted their public image to ever go around with "one eye plucked out" ... No, the ones that will have the disfigurements are the survivors.

While the devil is busy transforming himself to appear as an angel of light, the savior and those like him have "no apparent beauty that man should him desire." (hymn 175, O God, the Eternal Father)

Isaiah wrote of the messiah:

"Who hath believed my report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? … he hath no form nor comeliness; and when I shall see him, there is no beauty that I should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and I hid as it were my faces from him; he was despised, and I esteemed him not." (Isaiah 53:1-3)

False reporting HAH!!! If that is what's happens to people who tell the truth it's not much of a sales pitch.

Kumbayah followed by a big group hug is not in the cards in cases like this.

Jesus said of himself: "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." Matthew 10:34-39

What does that mean? Think about it ... Jesus is typically thought of as a healer, but he says he is come to send a sword, and not peace. I can't tell you what this means. The spirit will have to. But I implore you to consider it and get your own answer. You are going to need one.

One thing is clear, Christ came not for the proud and the rebellious, for they are not worthy off him. But Christ came for those who would humbly give up all that they possessed, including if necessary their most cherished relationships, and take up their cross in order to follow his way. When you look at the people involved in these situations... see which one of them is carrying a cross (hint: the one with the cross is not the perpetrator).

Trust me any incest survivor would like nothing better than to have a happy, ordinary relationship with her parents and her siblings. To have her children to grow up with happy memories of their grand parents and of family parties and holidays. But only a self-deception could ever allow this to be, and once awakened the survivor will not be readily self-decieved again. Families may be divided as if by a sword. Some family members (even though victims themselves) may reject the survivor's account and side with the offender. So be it. May the lord reward them according to their works (2 Timothy 4:14).

My wife is a brave, brave woman. It is at the risk of permanent alienation from her parents and sisters, and even from the community where she has grown up that she has come forward and spoken to the church the words of truth that she has struggled so hard to find and to give voice to.

I pray that the spirit of discernment will attend you priesthood leaders as you hear survivors stories, and as you consider what must be the underlying facts which give rise to the things that they say. I further pray that this same spirit will attend you as you hear the things which I know that the offenders must be allowed to say. And finally I pray with all my heart that the spirit of discernment will guide you as you DECIDE. As you decide what action the Lord would have his church take in regards to the matters laid before you. That the Lord's will may be done, and that the mourning may be consoled, and those who have been denied comfort may have a measure of comfort from the hands of the servants of the Lord, long though it may have been in coming, is my fervent prayer.

* - I realize that in D&C 64:9 the lord says clearly:
9 Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin.
10 I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men

But the lord goes on to say:
11 And ye ought to say in your hearts—let God judge between me and thee, and reward thee according to thy deeds.
12 And him that repenteth not of his sins, and confesseth them not, ye shall bring before the church, and do with him as the scripture saith unto you, either by commandment or by revelation.
13 And this ye shall do that God may be glorified—not because ye forgive not, having not compassion, but that ye may be justified in the eyes of the law, that ye may not offend him who is your lawgiver— [emphasis mine]

A survivor asking the church to hold a perpetrator to account is not automatically an indication that they have not forgiven.

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Letting the pain go

She was there inside of me, the little voice of my inner child.  Most of the time I was running from her, or avoiding her.  I was afraid of her, as I have blogged about previously.  I was afraid of myself being her.  I was afraid of what she had to tell me.  I was afraid of the judgments people had put upon her.  I was afraid the judgments were true.  I was afraid there was no way to defend against the judgements.  She felt trapped in a world where her truth could not be told, could not be understood, could not be healed.  And I kept her there, because I could not see a better option for her either.

Then I started to hear her whisper, her silent voice asking me to look at her, to listen to her, to learn from her.  I did some initial simple inner child work, and learned little things about her in pieces.

Then we went to a movie.  This movie triggered my inner child so thoroughly that she was thrown back into the realities of repeated violent rapes.  There was no way out of these violent seven year old memories.  All I could do was look at them and process them.  I wrote about the memories to capture them and give them a place to go.  If I could have found a way out of those memories, could have avoided those memories, could have ran screaming from those memories I would have.  But wrapped up in the images of violence and rape was a fragile little seven year old girl.

There really is no formula or procedure for dealing with such things.  All you can do is work through it.  It rocked me to my core.  It tore me apart emotionally in ways I have never faced, it healed me in ways I never expected.  Like relieving a pussed over splinter, it hurt and it felt good.

The strange thing was how familiar these memories were, like I had always knew them, like they always sat there dormant under the surface, always present.  These were not strange memories to me, these were vividly familiar memories to me.

The emotional impact of these memories was a month and a half, a month and a half of resolving the complicated layering meanings that were all tangled up in these memories.

It is not a battle I would have ever chosen to fight.  I would have chosen to have left those memories locked away, rather then remember them.  But it was not a battle I could avoid.

At the end of the fighting, and battling, and processing I found more freedom, as is always the case.  At the end I let that little girl inside of me out, out of that old dusty room she was curled up in in fear.

We still have not decided what we are going to do with each other.  She tells me things from time to time.  One day she stomped her foot and told me that all my clothes, even my newly acquired ones, were all old woman clothes, she did not want to wear them, she wanted to wear bright colors.  Another day she told me my long hair made her feel claustrophobic, and she wanted it chopped short in a fun freer cut.  Other times she decided the best thing to do for the day was pack the kids up, give them all Slurpee's and go to the mountains.  She is more spontaneous then me, and lighthearted and fun.  I have been missing this carefree happy nature in my life, she has been way too long trapped inside that dusty room.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Crying for the Little Child

Who Will Cry?

Who will cry
for the little child
that lives inside
Of Me?
Who will cry for the little child
dying to be set free?
Who will cry for the little child
wounded continuously?
I will cry for the little child,
For that little child
is Me

By Tremayne Moore
Child Sexual Abuse Advocate
Author of Deaf, Dumb, Blind & Stupid

I just finished reading Deaf, Dumb, Blind & Stupid: Michael Anderson's Fight For Life,  By Tremayne Moore.  The book starts out with this poem Who Will Cry?...  I met Tremayne on Twitter @Mayntre, and started reading his blog .  On his blog I found many posts talking about religion and abuse.  Like his blog this book takes a detailed look into how people in church respond to abuse.  In the book Michael Anderson's Pastor is the example of a good response to abuse.  Unfortunately, it seems everyone else around Michael  are examples of poor responses to abuse.  This book was a refreshing and real look into improper religious responses, along with many other insights into the effects and realities of abuse.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Nothing I Do Will Remove Brutality From My Past

The fact is I was Brutally raped over and over as a seven year old girl.  I should have been outside playing, giggling, having fun.  But instead I violently raped over and over.  Square that for me?  Make that into some pretty little picture that I can just smile and move on from?  If you can square that it is only because you did not live it.  It is only because the reality of that nightmare of that does not haunt you constantly.

I am sick of this plastic world.  I am sick of the plastic face.  I am sick of being good, looking good and hiding my hurt and pain.  The world can not handle the fact that I was brutally raped over and over continuously and I am suppose to just handle it? I guarantee that most people I know would want to shut off and not hear about the nightmare, they will then turn to me and tell me to just move on... well ain't it a pretty little package for them if I can move on... but  I cant.... because when I move it comes with me.

I do not know what it is like to  not be constantly afraid of the world.... I was never allowed to live in that reality... I  don't know what it is like to  not live in constant pain... I was never allowed that reality....

But hey, if you can move on do... and don't let me inconvenience you and your little world... I just keep pretending and living this life that is a walking death... or living this life that is a walking battle zone... or living life as a little girl curled up in fear... or pain.. or I don't even know what.. because some pains are too  big to really tell....

I hurt... that is real.. and either you can handle it or you cant... but weather or  not you can handle it... that does not change the fact that I hurt....

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Diversity, Compassion and Enoch's City of Zion

We are called to be like Enoch's Zion (little factoid, Enoch's city was not called "The City of Enoch".  Cain had a descendant that was named Enoch, and it was Canes descendant that called his city "The City of Enoch."  The prophet Enoch from the Bible named his city Zion.  So it is more correct to refer to the prophet Enoch's city as Zion).  In Enoch's Zion the people loved and cared for each other emotionally.  Right now in our day and age we are learning more and more about the dynamics of emotions.  

We are a very prosperous nation (in the US) because of this we are able to spend allot of energy learning in detail about many things.. This is a luxury.  If we were every day battling for our survival there would be no time or place for us to look at something so fleeting as emotions.  I am grateful for all of our forefathers that have made this great nation of prosperity, that has allowed us to live in a time where we can study in great detail something so fleeting as emotions.  In the past few generations we have greatly expanded our knowledge of emotions and the powerful role they play in our world.   

For my life understanding emotions is vital.  It is our understanding of emotions that creates a climate where I can look at the severe sexual abuse I endured, and find ways to heal it.  It is our understanding of emotions that allows my peers to understand somewhat the struggles in my life, caused by abuse.  It is because of our understanding of emotions that my peers are able to extend compassion towards me, because they know and understand more.  Christ has always called upon us to show compassion towards those that are struggling emotionally.  Christ, in his own life showed us how to show compassion towards people who have emotional trials.  The prostitute that Christ forgave and praised in the presence of his disciples, is a great examples of Christs compassion towards emotional trials.  

This prostitute was a victim of sexual abuse.  I say this with confidence because the more we learn about the sex industry the more we learn that the members of the sex industry, who are giving out sexual favors, are victims of their profiteers, and victims of their customers.  They are sex slaves, even if they seemingly are participating in that role voluntarily.  When Christ showed compassion to the prostitute he showed compassion to sexual victims.  He then asked the people of his time (and the people who read his words as recorded in the Bible) he asks them to show compassion, even as he did... 

For many followers of Christ, who have never experienced sexual slavery, showing compassion as he did to the prostitute has been an act of faith.  Having no knowledge of the inner workings of the sexual trade, they had no understanding to go on in order to help them have compassion towards victims of sexual abuse.  When they showed compassion it was because they were following Christ and having faith.  But today, in our day of plenty and prosperity we have had large amounts of research and learning devoted to understanding the complicated inner workings of emotions.  There are now endless clinical studies detailing out the devastating effects sexual abuse has on a person.  Today a follower of Christ who wants to show compassion for survivors of sexual abuse can easily educate themselves on the subject, and thus operate on more then just faith alone.  Now, here I am back to Enoch's City of Zion.

In Zion there was none who were left to want.  All members of Zion were cared for in every need. This could only happen if the members of Zion showed compassion towards a large variety of people, with a large variety of experiences.  Gods beautiful plan for this earth is one of broad diversity.  If you question this then stop to ask yourself if you can number the all the land animals on the earth, from there wonder at the number of birds, fish, and insects.  My personal favorite is to wonder at all the variety of flowers.  

God clearly does not believe in a one size fits all beauty... If he did he would have made all flowers daffodils (my personal favorite).  But he did not stop at the perfection of the daffodil (wink) he went on to create the rose (a favorite of many) the petunia, the hyacinth, the iris and on and on his floral creations went even down to the little, but significant, forget-me-not.  All this beauty and variety that God created gives us lots of joy, happiness and richness in life.  I believe that humans are meant to have a large amount of variety and richness too.  I believe that God created more variety in the Human race then he created in all of his floral creations.  In-fact the variety or diversity he created was endless, because each human here on the earth is an individual work of Gods art.  But then if we stop to consider it, so is each flower.

I have a flower garden full of daffodils.  Each flower is unique, each flower is beautiful.   I have yellow ones, I have white ones, I have white and yellow ones, I have frilly ones, I have little ones, I have daffodils with pink on them.  But even if we limit ourselves to just the classic all yellow daffodil, no two blooms in my garden are identical.  You may find on close examination that one yellow bloom has a small bright red bug living inside of it.  On another bloom you will find various pollen collecting bugs buzzing around it.  Continuing to look at these delightful yellow blooms you will see that one has more ruffles on its cup then the other.  You will see that one bloom looks up, while another bloom looks down.  One bloom stands up bold and strong, while another hides timidly in the greens.  But even then the variety continues to more endless possibilities.  Consider the imperfections of these yellow blooms.  Look at the brown scars where damage has been healed over.  Look at the green leaves that were accidentally crushed by one of my kids while tending to the flowers.  Their imperfections, scars, and healing adds even more variety to Gods beautiful creations. In just looking at my small daffodil garden we have seen a large amount of variety. 

Like flowers we humans are each unique, some are bold, some are shy, some are tall, some are short, all are imperfect, some have scars, some are healing still.  When we encounter variety/ diversity  we humans find we need to operate with compassion towards each other in order to maintain harmony.  In Enoch's City of Zion there was harmony, because there was compassion.

I have heard some people scoff at the various emotional concerns that are hitting the press, the Internet, and social circles. I agree that we have an ever growing list of emotional concerns and groups wanting emotional understanding.  I ask you.  Of these various emotional concerns how many of them do you think had to be addressed and worked through, in order for Gods people in  Zion to get along, to have compassion and harmony? 

I believe that we should embrace all the new emotional understanding our society is learning about.  I believe we should educate our selves on it, and learn from it.  I believe that Zion can be here on the earth again.  I believe Zion will be brought to earth when the people of God choose to be understanding, compassionate, and harmonious with each other, and with all types of people of the world.  

I am thankful for all that we are learning about emotions, because I believe that when we honor and respect each others emotions we become more like our Lord Jesus Christ.  I also believe that in honoring and respecting emotions in the world around us can become more like Zion.

Thank you for reading. 
Jean Marie

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Is believing in the goodness of mankind.  When you know the brutality of mankind firsthand.
- Jean Marie

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

DH sings "In the Air Tonight" to my Pedophile Father - Lyrics

My husband told me the other day, that ever since he first met my father, my father reminded him of this song.  Phil Collins In the Air Tonight.... My husband knew I was a victim of Childhood Sexual Abuse at the hands of my father, before I did.... He knew when on our wedding night I was not a virgin, yet I strongly believed I was..... He knew when I told him that dad acted like a creep once, but it was mild, and dad was fully repentant... He knew when my relationship with my dad was strange, when my relationship with my mother was strange... I wanted to name my first son after my dad, but DH refused.... DH knew.... And when I finally knew, DH admitted he always knew..... When I hear this song, I imagine the voice of my husbands internal voice singing to my dad, all those years... it is powerful...

"In The Air Tonight"

I can feel it coming in the air tonight, Oh Lord
I've been waiting for this moment, all my life, Oh Lord
Can you feel it coming in the air tonight, Oh Lord, Oh Lord

Well, if you told me you were drowning
I would not lend a hand
I've seen your face before my friend
But I don't know if you know who I am
Well, I was there and I saw what you did
I saw it with my own two eyes
So you can wipe off the grin, I know where you've been
It's all been a pack of lies

And I can feel it coming in the air tonight, Oh Lord
I've been waiting for this moment for all my life, Oh Lord
I can feel it in the air tonight, Oh Lord, Oh Lord
And I've been waiting for this moment all my life, Oh Lord, Oh Lord

Well I remember, I remember don't worry
How could I ever forget, it's the first time, the last time we ever met
But I know the reason why you keep your silence up, no you don't fool me
The hurt doesn't show; but the pain still grows
It's no stranger to you or me

And I can feel it coming in the air tonight, Oh Lord...

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All Thoughts Lead back to Anxiety

Laying in bed tonight I find myself once again failing at a standard practice.  I am all keyed up and anxious.  I ask my brain to find some place, maybe imaginary, maybe just a safe little nook of thought, someplace safe.... My brain starts down a path, and within in a few minutes I am back to anxiety, and that seemingly safe thought has found its way to a trigger.  I keep trying, with different starting places of thought, but I keep getting back to the inevitable destination, Anxiety.

When your whole childhood world was full of anxiety and sexual abuse, then pretty much any item or object experienced leads its way back to the realities of abuse.  

In counseling we do this practice where we try to imagine a safe place in our minds... mine collapses eventually and can not stay a free place, free from anxiety... I don't have that much power over my thoughts... They keep going back to what they know, which is anxiety.

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Hello Anxiety my Old Friend

Hello Anxiety my old friend... I've come to talk with you again....

I will tell you the truth.. I live in a constant state of anxiety.  This is not unusual for me.  I can start to black out fore stress and still hide my anxiety so well mental health professionals cant tell.  Do you know the sound of your beating heart?  No?  Why?  Because it is always there, your mind filters it out.  Most of the time I don't know the feeling of my anxiety, I filter it out, disconnect from it, feel that it is normal.  But stress is stress and ignoring my anxiety does not save my body from the side effects of living in anxiety.  I have not admitted this before... Because admitting it somehow further invalidate me and made me crazy and unreasonable.  It is impossible for me to tell you how ingrained that fact is for me... Let me just tell you that my head is dizzy, my vision is blurred, my feet ache from tingling, my hands ache, my eyes are sensitive.... And now.. Now I am dozing off, because a body can only take so much anxiety before it needs to recover... I have always hid this anxiety.. but hiding does not really describe it.  Since my parents never acknowledge anything about the abuse it meant to me that I was making up my symptoms.  I ignored them.  But they did not go away, they only became more entrenched.  Believe me I have tried all the trite suggestions you will come up whit... 

Anyways, I don't sleep... I sit and run through every possible thing that I feel threatened by.  I pray to the Lord to take my anxieties... He is willing.. But I am not... I cling to them, believing that I alone can cave me from tragedy again, and only if I am hyper vigilant.  

I am in and out of dosing.. who knows if this makes sense.... Maybe I can sleep now.

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