And no, not as in that glorious song by Whitney Houston…
You ever have those moments in time when, despite your best efforts to control yourself, you’re consumed by emotion and by emotion I mean uncontrollable emotions that hit you in the gut totally unexpected and leave you reeling for days or weeks or months. No just me?!?! I figured.
June 11th was such a day for me. It should have been totally amazing celebrating a milestone in the life of someone I love. The problem though is that someone loves someone I disdain. Last time we were in this scenario much to my dismay, this person I totally detest actually touched me. I vowed that if he touched me again I’d go to jail. Apparently he was warned and he didn’t touch me or even speak to me but in the moment or two before the end of the night, I saw him. Seeing him is almost always an excruciating experience. This time was no different.
The moment I saw him I immediately began to be anxious. My fight or flight stimulus had been triggered and I just wanted out and away from the situation. Unfortunately, a few moments later I caught a glimpse of him again and what happened later that night still has my head spinning a bit nearly a week later.
It has been nearly 30 years since the last time I was sexually abused or raped by this man and yet, that night I sat in my craft space afraid to sleep knowing I’d have flashbacks and nightmares of the situation all over again. How can something that happened what feels like a lifetime ago to a totally different person still continue to cause such negative emotions now all these years later? I have no idea, but it did. When sleep finally did come, it was short and full of experiences that I can’t forget no matter how hard I try. One of the worst nights I’ve had in a very long time. After four hours of sleep that was riddled with some of the most painful memories I have, I finally couldn’t take it anymore and woke up and got the day started. Unfortunately the heartache continued throughout the next day.
Try as I might to stay distracted and busy, I couldn’t keep my mind off the events of my childhood that resulted in things like at least 14 different foster homes, attending 6 different high schools, and countless years lost with my siblings. I’ve cried so many tears over the abuse I suffered at this man’s hands you’d think I’d be all cried out but alas, every now and again a there’s a moment or two in time that leaves me in tears all over again. This time it was a whole different experience though…
I cried at the memories themselves, but mostly I felt this overwhelming sense of unworthiness. Abuse kind of does that to you sometimes…
Here I am 26 years post abuse and seeing that man for just the second or two I did in the moment or two I did had me in tears questioning what I have done to deserve all the goodness I have in my life. I grew up feeling so worthless and unloved and unvalued that, as I went about that Thursday day I found myself filled with doubts. I found myself wondering what it is about me that is deserving the devotion and admiration of my children, the heart and soul of the only man I’ve ever loved with all that I am, the love and affection of the friends that I have in my life and the support of all the chosen family that now surrounds me.
I found myself questioning why my adoptive parents would even WANT to adopt someone so violated and often still so cracked and broken as I am. I found myself questioning all that is good in my life and wondering if this horrible man had never been introduced to me, how different would my life have been. Would have been better? Would it have been worse? For a moment or two I even found myself questioning my worth to my Heavenly Father if something so bad could have happened to me so many times. It’s not like this man I speak of was the first or only to take advantage of me. In fact, with few exceptions, every man I’ve ever known from before I was born has hurt me or taken advantage of me from before birth well into adulthood. Aside from worthy active priesthood holders from church, I can count how many men haven’t abused me on one hand.
Usually I’m really good at seeing the bright side of things. That Wednesday and Thursday evening though it was pretty tough to see anything other than all the countless times I was used and abused to bring him pleasure. I’ve forgiven him; I’ve accepted it as part of my history; I’ve been in therapy for years to heal. Why then, does seeing a glimpse of him bring back so much unpleasantness? Oh how I wish forgiven meant forgotten. Since it doesn’t however, I suspect there will continue to be moments in time such as this.
The last time I had to share a once in a lifetime event with this man it was four years ago, hopefully it will be many more years before I have to do it again and if not, prayerfully the love of my life will be at my side to support me through it by reminding me that he loves me and I am worth it. Funny how one man (or several in my case) can take away all the worth you have ever felt and then another can, in an instant, give it all back to you and then some.