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I can hear you groaning through the screen at the title of this blog entry because that would have been my reaction once upon a time. I have written numerous times about my goal to stop nursing the bitterness to free myself, but I absolutely would not embrace the term forgiveness because what was done to me was unforgiveable.

About a year ago, my dearest friend betrayed me, and her betrayal triggered many of my childhood issues surrounding trust. After months of intense bitterness and anger (all well-deserved), I felt led to forgive her … not because she deserved it (nobody being forgiven ever “deserves” it) but because doing so would free me. I used the tools provided in Beth Moore’s book, Praying God’s Word, of praying blessings over this person who had hurt me so badly. Over a period of months, I released the bitterness, and it was replaced by peace.

Next, I felt led to do the same thing with my mother/abuser. If you have read any of my blog entries about my mother, you know how difficult this was for me. I did this for several months, and the same thing happened – I was able to release my bitterness in a way that had not been possible before.

In May, I saw my mother/abuser for the first time in 4-1/2 years because we were both invited to my nephew’s high school graduation. While seeing my mother/abuser was not enjoyable, I got through it with grace and without taking away from the reason we had come together – to celebrate my nephew’s accomplishments. I don’t believe I could have done this if I had not spent the prior several months praying blessings over her. I truly do not wish her harm, and I hope that she will one day know peace – not because she deserves it but because I have made the choice to let go of my bitterness toward her.

I have no desire to reconcile with either of these people – not with my ex-friend or my mother/abuser – because neither is repentant for her betrayal. Unless and until they are repentant, including taking full responsibility for their betrayals, any possibility of reconciliation is off the table.

That being said, if the day ever comes that either of them fully own up to the damage they inflicted on me and choose to offer me a sincere apology, I’ll be able to have that conversation without the weight of unresolved anger and bitterness because I have forgiven them both. I will feel no obligation to walk with them again, but I will also be able to sincerely wish them well because I am finished with harboring anger and bitterness toward them. I am free to live my life without feeling tethered to them.

Photo credit: Microsoft

My Darkest Memory

Victory (c) Microsoft

Victory (c) Microsoft

I recovered my Achilles’ heel – the final piece to the puzzle that explains my freak out whenever I see a splinter, my aversion to silence, and my need to use the bathroom immediately before bed, even if I just went five minutes before. With the recovery of this memory, I have fully reclaimed myself – Hallelujah!

***** trigger warning *****

I have already written about the first three parts of this memory. Part 1 is about being buried alive, and Part 2 is about being buried alive with my sister’s “corpse.” Part 3 was about being forced to “kill” my sister, which happened immediately before being put into the box. What I recovered this morning is Part 4.

To weave it all together, I was told that it was time for my sister to die and that I had to be the one to kill her. My entire life was about doing all sorts of vile things to keep her safe. Her death was not an option.

They put something (a rag??) in my hands and told me to smother her with it. I touched her face as lightly as I could, but she “died,” anyhow. My guess is that the rag had ether or equivalent on it to knock her out. They told me that she was dead.

Next I was brought to the “burial site” by the large box I have already described. They made a dramatic entrance with my sister’s limp body in someone’s arms. They placed her into the box and then said that because I was a “bad girl” and killed my sister, I would be buried with her. They made me get into the box and then buried us.

Whether or not I was ever actually buried is another story. That box was HUGE, and I seriously doubt they dug a hole that deep. However, I **believed** that we were buried, which is what is relevant to processing the trauma.

I was frightened but resigned to die. My reason for living was lying “dead” beside me, so I was ready to die as well. I shut down. Then, after a period of time, my sister “came back to life.” The air in the box was already warm, and I feared that my sister might suffocate, so I tried to break out of the box. I always obeyed the rule not to show emotion, but I gave it all I had. I screamed, hit, and clawed the box, desperately trying to get out. That’s how I got the splinters, which were a tangible reminder later that this event really happened, which is why they were always so triggering to me.

Once my sister was fully awake, she joined in trying to escape from the box. No matter how hard we tried or how loudly we screamed, we were trapped, and the more we screamed and moved around, the hotter it got in the box. This is why my sister freaks out unless she has air flowing onto her at all times. She keeps a fan everywhere she goes.

We eventually gave up after a long period of time, and then it was completely silent except for the sounds of our breathing. That’s why silence freaks me out – I always have to have white noise going in the background. We laid there a very long time, so long that I lost control of my bladder – hence the need to use the bathroom immediately before bed every night.

The wait went on and on and on and on and on. I have no concept of time in my memory, but it felt like hours. We were eventually released from the box into the cold night, and somebody gave me a blanket. The kindness of the blanket after the cruelty of the box messed with my head even more.

So, that’s the end of the “old me” story. I am relieved to have finally reclaimed this part of myself so I can heal it.

I sobbed heavily after “reliving” this memory this morning. I played Contemporary Christian music the entire time and couldn’t even get out a “help” in prayer because I was so distraught. I felt God all around me, telling me that this didn’t break me because He wouldn’t let it.

I have nothing left to fear. All of the traumatic memories have been recovered, and I survived! I survived the abuse, and I survived the memories. I know that I have a “fun” couple of weeks ahead of me as I process the emotions, but I WON! I won the war against my abusers and within myself. It might take me a while to recover from this last battle, but the war is won. I am a new creation, and my past no longer has power over me. Praise God!

Photo credit: Microsoft

Experiencing Joy!

ImageI don’t check up on this blog much anymore, but I felt led to do so and share where I currently am on my healing journey. The entire time I was writing the Blooming Lotus blog, I was active in Bible studies, particularly those written by Beth Moore, who is a Christian speaker and author who is also a child abuse survivor. Nobody who knows who she is thinks of her with the label of “child abuse survivor,” though, and that is what I am seeking in my own life – to discover who I am outside of the label of “child abuse survivor.”

Two of her Bible studies have greatly impacted where I am now: Breaking Free and Believing God. In March 2013, I was in another bad place and questioned whether I would ever be free of my past. Where was this peace and satisfaction that Beth Moore said were mine as God’s child? I set aside a full day for prayer, worship, and crying out to God, and my life has not been the same since.

For the first time in my life, I experience joy. Yes, JOY! I didn’t know that was possible for me, but it is and has been for months now. In May, I realized that the undercurrent of wanting to die was finally gone – GONE! I now know what it is like to live my life JOYFUL and without an underlying death wish. I never dreamed this was possible!

This wonderful period of joy has lasted for SIX MONTHS, even while various challenges slammed me in my day-to-day life. No matter what life threw at me, I was “standing on solid ground,” knowing that God is always – ALWAYS – in control and protecting me. Nothing that my abusers broke in me is too broken for God to heal. NOTHING!

Last month, God put heavily on my heart that it is time to heal my marriage. God had already been softening both my heart and hub’s for a number of months and even moved hub into a life decision to stop complaining and be content. I was not involved in this decision of his, and he has not complained in almost two months. This season has been challenging for me because part of healing my marriage involves healing my feelings about sex and undoing all of the lies woven into my head – that “pleasure” and pain are intertwined and that marital sex is trying to say “I love you” with the same physical action as rape.

For the last month, I have been integrating my most wounded parts, and that has been difficult. However, this time around, I know where my solid ground is, and I feel like I can reach out and touch God because He is so close to me as I heal my most wounded parts of myself. In the midst of healing the pain, I know in the very depths of my heart and soul that I am fully and completely loved. I don’t know what I will look like after this process is completed, but I am resting on the promise that God wants this part of me healed. Once this is healed, I will have fully reclaimed all of the parts of myself that my abusers took from me. I am living Isaiah 61. I have been restored!

I was always very careful not to weave too much “God talk” into this blog because I did not want to trigger anyone with religious triggers. However, I cannot blog any longer with God hiding in the background. GOD IS MY HEALER AND RESTORER!! Behold, He makes all things new! And He is making me new. After all of the trauma, pain, rage, and grief, I have been made new! If God can not only heal but RENEW me, He can do it for you, too! Don’t let ANYONE tell you that you are a lost cause. The Maker of Heaven and earth has the power to fully free you from your bondage if you will let Him.

Photo credit: Microsoft

Keeping the blog

Hi, all.

I inquired with WordPress about what I need to do to make sure the blog stays active even though I am no longer blogging. I was told that no minimum amount of activity is required, so this blog will remain as a standing resource for those healing from child abuse even though I am no longer actively blogging. :0)

~ Faith

Blooming Lotus (c) Faith AllenHi, all.

I am still super busy with my job and such, but I do have a holiday break coming, so I decided to participate over at Lori’s Song while I temporarily have a little more time so I can offer support to child abuse survivors over the holidays. Overall, I am doing well. This time of year is always hard for me, but it is less hard than in prior years, and I am celebrating the progress. I hope all of you are doing well.

Photo credit: Faith Allen

I hope you have had a chance to visit the child abuse healing forums at Lori’s Song. The site just launched on Friday, so it will take a while for the forums to get busy as child abuse survivors who are looking to heal join the site. The site has quite a few child abuse healing forums, including a section for learning how to thrive. I like that the forums are set up to meet the needs of those who have moved through the early stages of healing and are transitioning into thriving. Of course, plenty of support is available in the child abuse healing forums for those of you who are in the throes of the early stages of healing.

Everyone,

I have previously shared that I have been helping launch a charity for child abuse survivors. The site went live today.

I encourage you to check out this exciting new resource for child abuse survivors. It would be a great place to move this community for those of you who would like to stay in regular contact.

Let me know what you think of the site! :0)

~ Faith

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