I’m working through a self-care challenge with a group of women who have been sexually abused, and our challenge today was to take the Love Languages quiz, from the book written by Gary Chapman. As I was working through the quiz, I realized that I love the idea of physical touch, so I was answering the questions as such, but if I’m honest, physical touch in real life is awkward for me. When I first starting to spend time with my husband, when I was 15, it was even painfully uncomfortable when he’d put his arm around me. It’s the same with gifts. I genuinely appreciate the thought and love that goes into giving a gift, but I never know how to receive it gracefully and I become embarrassed.
I think I struggle with this as a direct result of of my sexual abuse. David used to buy me gifts that I had expressed interest in and of course touch me in ways that felt good to me as well as those that made me uncomfortable, well before the sexual abuse began as part of his grooming and coercion to later lead me to submit to his advances. I am unsure how to shift these unhealthy connections that are attached to these healthy acts of love to filling my love tank as they are supposed to.
It makes me angry and really sad to think that using what makes me feel loved was the very method this man used to assault me, thus hindering my ability to be loved throughout my life… how many relationships I couldn’t begin, that didn’t last, that inevitably crumbled…
Childhood sexual abuse is about more than a physical violation, it’s a violation of the mental, the spiritual, and the emotional health of an individual who is still developing and discovering their own identity…. and today I’m sad to see how I’ve had to adapt to my surroundings due to the hindrances I’ve had to work through – hindrances that a lot of people simply didn’t understand and that some still don’t. *sigh*
I feel like I’ve gone up and down as I’ve worked through devotions and personal challenges today. I know it’s all for my good, but please pray for me. This stuff is hard…. I push through… I know that my testimony brings glory to God… but it’s still hard. I’m thankful for all He’s doing inside me and that I don’t have to settle for where I’m at, I’m so thankful that God is willing to pour His love into my life and make me FREE.