Archive for November 1st, 2010

Have you seen the article about the child abuse survivor who beat up his abuser? According to this article, 43-year-old William Lynch confronted his abuser, 65-year-old priest Jerold Lindner, in the lobby of a retirement home. According to the article, Lynch asked his abuser if he knew who he was. When the abuser said no, Lynch basically beat the h@$% out of him – enough to send him to the hospital.

According to Lynch, Lindner raped both him and his brother at ages 7 and 5 and also forced them to perform sexual acts on each other. The article says that Lindner has been accused of sexually abusing others as well. It sounds like, other than being ostracized from him family, Lindner has never really paid for hurting so many children. Meanwhile, Lynch has “had nightmares for years, battled depression and alcoholism and had attempted suicide twice because of the priest’s abuse.”

Here is a quote from Lynch in that article:

Many times I thought of driving down to LA and confronting Father Jerry. I wanted to exorcise all of the rage and anger and bitterness he put into me…You can’t put into words what this guy did to me. He stole my innocence and destroyed my life. ~ William Lynch

I find this whole story sad. I like the part of the article quoting a psychologist who said that it is “normal for victims to fantasize about revenge without acting on it.” If you are burning up with rage, that is the course of action that I recommend rather than risking getting yourself thrown in jail for beating up your abuser.

Visualizing beating up my abusers has been very effective for me. Like Lynch, I have experienced lots of rage festering inside of me toward my abusers who, to my knowledge, never spent a day in jail for abusing children. Rather than take physical action like Lynch, I have chosen to “beat up my abusers” in my own head. I have found this to be a very healing exercise in which nobody (including me) gets hurt.

The beauty of it is that I don’t have to stop or worry about anyone trying to stop me. I can beat up, maim, and even “kill” my abusers over and over again in my head without doing any harm to anyone. I was actually a bit disturbed by how graphic these fantasies got at first, but I soon recognized that I was finally giving my anger and rage a voice. I did not need to involve another person for me to express my rage – I could do this successfully inside of my own head.

As for Lynch’s comment about his abuser destroying his life — Don’t let your abusers have that kind of power over you! Notice how the abuser did not even know who Lynch was after all of these years while Lynch probably never stopped thinking about his abuser. Choosing to work through therapy, process your pain, and heal is the way you resurrect your life. Our abusers definitely destroyed our innocence, but only we have the power to let them destroy our lives.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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