Archive for March 18th, 2009

I am posting this message in real time. This just happened … my mother/abuser just called my house!!!!!

I have been focusing on breathing for the last hour. I called my therapist and am waiting to hear back from him. I also called a friend, who was great at reminding me to breathe. Seriously, I keep feeling lightheaded because I keep forgetting to breathe.

Let me back up…Mother/abuser’s birthday was last week, and I did not send her a card or present. She is in “Christian counseling” as part of becoming a Christian counselor herself. [Deep shudder] I suspect that this counselor is the one pushing her to disregard all of the boundaries that I have had in place for over five years – don’t call or visit; only write once a month; do not discuss the past or reconciliation.

Seriously – If a woman’s adult child has not wanted contact in over five years, why would this counselor think that badgering me is going to result in a reconciliation? Oh, that’s right … She’s not an educated psychotherapist.

So, my mother/abuser sent me a card on Monday. It was very short, and I dissociated away most of it. (My friend took the card so I would not get triggered by it again.) It said something along the lines of, “It has been a long time. I want a reconciliation. I will do whatever it takes.”

And then now, only two days later, she is calling my house!?!! I haven’t even had time to respond by mail yet!!

Again, I dissociated the message, but it was definitely her voice and something along the lines of, “You should have received my card by now. I want a reconciliation. Please call me…” I turned it off before it finished. My friend is going to listen to the message and tell me if there is anything that I need to know from it. Then, I am going to delete it.

I am not sure what to do other than remind myself that I am not a little girl any longer. She cannot force me to reconcile with her. If she shows up on my doorstep, I will call the cops. If hub is home, he will take care of it. Fortunately, I am going out of town this weekend. If she shows up then, hub will make sure she never comes back. She lives 6 hours away by car, and I would not have thought that she would just show up. However, after this barrage of contact and running over all of my boundaries, nothing would surprise me.

Don’t worry about me. I am going to be okay. I am going to pick up my son from school and then go to my friend’s house. She will keep me calm (or as calm as I can be). In the meantime, I am going to keep reminding myself to breathe.

Please send your thoughts, prayers, and positive energy my way today.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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Chapel (c) Lynda Bernhardt

On my blog entry entitled Feeling the Need to Coddle or Protect My Mother/Abuser, Zoe posted the following comment:

I struggle in the same ways somewhat. i dont know how to reconcile it. especially in view of Christiianity which is a huge part of who i am. and shapes the way i think about everything, it presses heavily upon me.

I cannot think of a way to address this comment without including religion, so I will post a trigger warning.

***** Religious Triggers *****

A faith in God is supposed to be helpful in healing from any pain, so why is Christianity often a hindrance to healing from child abuse rather than helpful? I think the problem is that organized Christianity is interpreted in a way that does not leave room for situations like child abuse. Child abuse, particularly by a parent, goes against the grain of the organized Christian view of a family, and organized Christianity does not know quite what to do with it.

One of my biggest hurdles was the requirement to honor your father and mother. How was I supposed to “honor” my abuser? I wrestled mightily with this commandment and finally chose to allow my mother to write to me monthly as my way of “honoring” her.

Another big hurdle was in the Lord’s Prayer: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Some church folks would say that God would not forgive me unless I first forgave my mother. And, to many church folks, forgiveness meant reconciliation, so my options were either to invest in a relationship with my abuser or burn in hell. What a choice!

As I have grown deeper in my relationship with God, my searching has led me to a much deeper understanding of the Bible. Many of the truths that I have discovered run contrary to organized Christianity’s interpretations of the Bible. I chose to reread the words that Jesus said as if I was reading them for the first time and removed any preconceived notions or teachings that I learned from the church. I found that the faith in the Bible is much deeper, richer, and significantly more freeing than what I have been taught in church.

While I do not fully agree with the interpretations of God in The Shack by William Paul Young, I think that Mr. Young’s view of God is closer to my own than what I get in a church service. I believe that God wants to free us from bondage, not make our lives even harder. I believe that God is the only being who fully understands how deeply I have been hurt, so He is going to be compassionate about my struggles rather than judgmental.

For example, the Bible says that gluttony is a sin, so there are people who would call me a “sinner” for struggling with binge eating. However, because God knows how deeply I have been hurt, he understands why I do it, so His focus is going to be on helping me heal the underlying pain, not on stopping me from “sinning” through gluttony.

If Christianity is a hindrance to your ability to heal from child abuse, take a step back from the church’s interpretation of the Bible and, instead, go directly to God. Pray about the issues that are bothering you. Read the Bible anew and remove the filter that organized religion has placed upon your interpretations of the Bible.

God cannot be contained – not in a box, a church, or an interpretation of who He is supposed to be. God is who He is, and you don’t need a pope, priest, pastor, or preacher to be a middleman. Take your concerns and questions directly to God, and He will open your eyes to the truth.

If you will go directly to God, you will find that your faith can run much, much deeper than has been recognized in a church building. God’s healing power cannot be limited.

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Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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