"I collapsed two weeks after my sister passed away from cancer. I had struggled the last year of her illness with the inability to stop the cancer, dealing with the disappearance of a close friend, and the potential loss of another because of conflict. Those events would catapult me into counseling for the next three years. The doctor looked at me and said I was to find counseling or I would not be allowed to work. I spent a full month on a leave of absence, separated from everything that made me who I was, depressed, alone and lost.
I attended counseling because they told me to. I wanted nobody, needed nobody, and isolated myself behind 'walls of protection' that kept everyone at arm's length. Counseling quickly moved from dealing with the loss of my sister to much deeper, hidden issues. I had grown up in a large family with a father that ruled with an iron hand and a brother that had scarred me for life. Anger nested just beneath the surface and threatened to explode at any moment. I was a time bomb. I ran from the attention of any man. The memories with my brother were far too vivid to escape. A touch, the sound of someone's breathing up against my neck, a look, all sent me into a panic. I spent several months in counseling before I finally got up the nerve to tell of the incest. I quickly learned that I wasn't the only one. There were others out there, others [in group] that understood the emotions, others that understood why I perceived things the way I did, where no explanation was needed. Telling broke a hold on the secret and loosened the grip that Satan had on my soul.
Counseling took me step by step, peeling away layer after layer of pain, to open locked doors, open closed boxes, erase old tapes, expose the trail of broken friendships, all to help me understand why I was the person I was. For the first time in my life, the puzzle pieces started to fit into place. They started to make sense and I could see the whys behind the decisions in my life. We talked of crossing the swamp, of holding onto the shirttail of Jesus so we wouldn't get lost, of the child within that sometimes surfaces and reminds us that a part of us froze somewhere along the way.
That obedient streak that my dad instilled in me became my saving grace. I did what I was told, I journaled in detail, I kept at it until the walls completely crumbled. Today, I have a network of support that is made up of family and friends. I am healthier emotionally. I recognize the patterns quicker and am able to pre-empt Satan's plans more and more. I remain single, knowing that it will be a God-thing if I one day find someone willing to love me. For now, I live life with my eyes on the horizon, knowing full well that He is there, He knows me and He still loves me.
to be aware that I was not healthy emotionally when sharing an apartment with a friend. I began noticing patterns in my relationship with her that kept me dependent on her to meet core emotional needs. It was difficult for me to have my own life outside of her. I became enmeshed with her and found myself not being able to "be" apart from her. The only friends I had were mutual and I rarely went anywhere on my own. When she went out with her separate friends it left me feeling abandoned and so very alone. I would go into fits of panic and rage especially when she would make plans to go out with mutual friends without me, all the while knowing within myself that something was not right within me. She pulled farther and farther away from me, and I found myself feeling more alone, desperately wanting someone to whom I could attach. The time came when my roommate could take no more and decided to move out. This resulted in a downward spiral for me which led to an attempted suicide. My roommate was aware of my attempt and asked her Sunday School teacher, who was a counselor, to call me. That call initiated the beginning of my journey to wholeness.
Entering into a counseling situation was a bit unnerving because I did not know what might be discovered about me and my life. I knew my childhood had been difficult at times and there were question marks about my dad. Through counseling I received answers to my quesitons and understanding of why I did not like my dad. At last I understood there was a reason for my erratic swings and that it was not just an issue of not being spiritual enough...a bad Christian. Counseling lasted at least 3 years, with occasional return visits when previously hidden issues surfaced. Freedom is the big difference in my life now. There are not the attachments and depth of need for people in the same way. I am stronger within...able to do life the way I know God wants me to. My needs are met differently now; I let God meet those needs more. It's a huge transition from outward to inward in dealing with those issues." - - B.C.A.
1 - What is it like to be on the other side of sexual abuse?
I can embrace being a female with joy not dread.I have an opinion about what I like, how I look and how I feel.It is actually okay for me to look like a woman, to feel, to love and be loved. It is incredible to walk without shame and fear having a grip on me that immobilizes me.They produce such lies that have bound me up and held me captive for years.Having Gods truth penetrate and dissolve these has been the greatest gift me allowing His grace to heal, restore and show me who I really am. Ive started dancing as an act of worship these last few months.I have a passion for the Lord that up until now had always been a dream.As I have fallen deeper and deeper in love with Him, I have discovered myself.There is a place in me that is unafraid and full of passion, holiness, purity and joy that He has protected and kept as He led me back home.But in the midst of this, I am still so very human and mess up often yet now I can accept His grace to be corrective; not depend on my effort to be perfect. I really have no idea how I ended up here but I know God orchestrated it all and used Brenda to carry out His plans.This journey has been hard, terrifying and bordered on insanity numerous times.But, its been worth it all.It reminds me of childbirth you forget all the pain and just enjoy the child in your arms the new birth which in this case is me! --Gay