Dealing with Unwanted Thoughts

When you’ve heard someone say something really awful, like the most awful, mean, and hurtful thing that could be said in that given moment, how do you stomach it and move past it? What do you do to remove it from your thoughts or from effecting you well after it’s been said? Some of what I’m struggling with relates to some things that were said that don’t have an end of sorts – no apology or remorse.  In other cases, I have things that I have in my mind that I never even discussed with those people because I didn’t want them to feel guilt over it when they can’t change it… when do we let things go and be quiet and when do we bring these hurts to people to address?

I am still trying to find a balance in that… I was too quiet before and people had no clue I was hurting and then as I processed through heartache, I spilled out my guts. lol I want to honor the Lord in what I do: I want to obey Him in being me and I also want to walk out His Word in my life.  I realize I’m dealing with things I never had a chance to address or challenge as a teenager at 30, but I feel like I’m just shy of some new victory that I don’t know how to get over. I am hopeful anyway that I will stop feeling like a whiny teenager at some point here. hahhaa I say that but I know, despite my feelings, I’m not whiny or childish – because what I experienced wasn’t petty and my health matters.

Is there insight I’m missing in this or is this still a ‘give it time’ thing?

I appreciate any wisdom on the subject.

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Wholly Me

These last few years I’ve felt called to be wholly me. Not because I haven’t been genuinely me or not real in some way, but because I’ve wrestled with parts of myself that I didn’t fully understand. For instance:

I genuinely have no desire to allow my emotions to rule me,

I also genuinely have mountains of emotions that I have had to work through due to the trauma I have experienced.

I genuinely have no desire to stir up unnecessary quarrels,

I also genuinely have some hard things I need to work through and that requires hard conversations that need to be had.

I genuinely have no desire to hurt others,

I also genuinely am working through pain and anger and I’m figuring out how to reconcile that with not wanting to hurt others as I address those things.

I genuinely love people,

I also genuinely don’t understand certain things that people do.

I genuinely want to move forward and let go of all the baggage and heartache,

I also genuinely struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder and have to work to overcome some of the responses my mind and body have regarding a given situation.

I genuinely appreciate a calm and tactful conversation regarding difficult and complex emotions,

I also genuinely can’t remain calm sometimes due to the PTSD I have as certain things trigger my body to shake, trigger me to cry, trigger me to have anxiety, and trigger me to feel in an unsafe place I’ve once been in.

I genuinely want to push through and get through the pain and overcome it,

I also genuinely must consider my whole state of mental health and continue to care for myself so I can continue to be healthy in the midst of my struggles.

~~~

In respect of who I’ve been at my core, I’m ready to be real: wholly real, and merge these parts of myself into one while also wholly surrendering to the Lord, His will for my life, and the way my life touches others.

I believed that surrendering wholly to the Lord meant shutting off parts of myself, but I’m finding that it’s transforming all parts of myself to be more like Him while being wholly me every step of the way.

It’s a freeing and beautiful thing to be discovering how to be me in everything I do. It’s also a bit unnerving as I make myself vulnerable due to having my vulnerabilities exploited in the past, but I truly don’t want to be so hard against the world that I am not able to experience the heart of Christ. I’d rather do my best to allow God to help me work through that pain and remain soft to God and His love and His people.

I’m ready to be wholly myself. I hope others will love me as I am, but if not, I will continue to cling to Jesus as He continues to heal and transform my life. He loves me and He’ll remain faithful and gently care for me in my vulnerabilities. As Romans 8:31 states, if my God is for me, who shall ever be against me? ♥

The Realization of Shame

“Shame is the lie someone told you about yourself.” Anais Nin

In cases of sexual assault, shame is almost always a subsequent factor. Even if one was told “It’s not your fault,” the chances are high that one still blames themselves in some way. For me, this was absolutely the case. David had not only convinced me that we were in a relationship, I had my sister J processing out loud with me about whether or not our sister L held me partially responsible as well as her treating me as a threat with her boyfriend, a friend dismissively telling me that I should have known better, and another friend scoffing at me that it takes two to tango. There was my sister L who said “he was the one who was wrong,” but because of what J had said, her words were tainted in my mind. They didn’t impact me as deeply because I heard her lead with “it doesn’t matter what you did.” I heard that and wondered what she believed I did. I instead believed a lie that I was part of what happened to me… After all, didn’t he give me a choice? Didn’t he tell me that I could say I didn’t like it? Couldn’t I have just said no or told someone? Couldn’t I have just said stop at any time? As a result of misunderstanding, my ignorance, and believing the lies I was told, I experienced deep shame.

As an adult, for a long time I rationalized that the poor treatment I experienced by J was a result of my inability to communicate well, for being overly emotional, for not being considerate or thoughtful… if I just changed my wording, my behavior, myself, then perhaps I’d be more respectable and lovable, I’d become more worthy… but nothing ever felt like enough. Accusations still came that I was still self-righteous and judgmental, that I was condescending and belittling, that I thought of myself as so special. At one time, I laughed with her at a comment my father made about me being a catalyst in my family, thinking it was a bit much… and later she’d spit the words at me as if I’d believed it about myself.

I witnessed abusive relationships around me and because I saw my own responsibility in the mistreatment I was experiencing, I perceived the same in others. I counseled a number of women into allowing their partners, friends, and family to continue to mistreat them. As if whatever they were doing, no matter how wrong it was, justified what the other person was doing. While it’s true we can’t control how others treat us, we can choose to stop someone’s mistreatment of us by not allowing it. I didn’t realize I was doing this until just these last couple of years. How confusing for these women in my life! If only I had become aware of my own shame and the lies I had been believing about myself… instead I perpetuated my rationalizations into the hearts and minds of other women.

The sexual assault I experienced changed me. I lost a part of myself… my innocence, my dignity… and it was replaced with shame. I became overwhelmed with simple tasks and such struggles began to define what I could do, who I could be with, and how I could act. I felt stuck and I felt like I would never be able to come out of it. Between my trauma and my struggles to regain what was taken from me, the emotional immaturity of my sister J impacted me deeper than I could have realized and was because of what had happened to me. Her harshness brought me back to a child-like place I had to mature in. I was repeatedly violated and humiliated because of what lies I was still trapped in. However, due to the things I’ve been learning about PTSD, I am discovering how to reclaim my safety and dignity with each panic attack and finding my grounding. It no longer has to define me.

Facing the problems that my shame has created has been daunting. I had to address what I was feeling to even discover it. I had to feel my true emotions about how those around me responded to my sexual assault instead of cover them up with sugar cookies and roses. I had to allow myself to process through the grief of what I had lost and who I was never going to be… to end up seeing the truth. My perception was skewed… I see that now. I’m excited to see the world through different eyes… eyes not clouded by a lack of self-love. How could I ever truly love anyone as God has called us all to in Mark 12:31 when I didn’t see how much I didn’t love myself; when I saw myself as less than, inadequate, damaged, worthless, and unlovable.

It’s okay to give myself compassion for being traumatized, for being hurt, for making mistakes, for not being who everyone may think I should be. It’s okay to give myself compassion for simply being me. It’s okay to have compassion on myself. It’s okay to not hate myself for messing up. I need to stop hating myself.

I am not less than, inadequate, damaged, worthless, or unlovable.

I am not garbage.

 

I Wasn’t Gross

Breastfeeding in public… it’s a topic of contention for some. Hide your breast skin! It’s gross! It’s dirty! It’s a temptation to men! These are the different accusations floating around when women stop to soothe their crying, tired, hungry, helpless and innocent babies.

I’m a private person. With my first 3 children I covered with a blanket when I nursed my babies and/or left the room and hid alone so as to not make anyone else uncomfortable. I isolated myself and others supported that. With my fourth child, I began to be a bit more relaxed in it, as it became more and more apparent to me that it was not sexual at all.

Then, I had a man I considered a friend at the time, tell me that he needed me to cover because he was being aroused. I gave him a hard time about it and that he was the one who assured me that he was not going to be inappropriate, regarding feeding my child.  I FELT gross… and I then covered for the most part with my next child, again to cause the men around me to stumble.

With my last child however, I was 5 months deep in an overwhelming journey of healing from past child sexual assault, I began nursing my son and realized it wasn’t my breast that was the problem, it was the lust in a man’s heart. That man that was ‘aroused’ by my nursing a baby with my breast was. I WASN’T GROSS, HE WAS.

If I were sitting with another woman while I nursed my baby and she stated to me that she was feeling tempted due to her attraction to my breast while I nursed my child … I’d ask, “tempted to what?” Tempted to look? Don’t. Tempted to touch? Don’t. Tempted to pleasure herself? Tempted to be promiscuous?! Tempted to rape?! I mean, truly! What?! I just don’t understand!

So why is this acceptable for the men in our society?

Tempted to look? DON’T.

Tempted to touch? DON’T.

Tempted to masturbate, or go be promiscuous?! Guess, what… DON’T.

Tempted to rape?? STILL DON’T

Struggling with porn addiction, sex addiction, or sexual fantasies is not the problem of the world OR church around you. It’s on YOU. If you need help, ask for it. Get accountability. But there is something seriously wrong with this idea that WOMEN and OUR BODIES are the problem, and not YOUR HEART.

“Flee from sexual immorality.” 1 Corinthians 6

Breastfeeding, for the love of all things HOLY, is NOT sexual immorality!!!

JUST DON’T LOOK.

TEMPTATION is not OUR FAULT.

SIN you have acted on, due to the temptation is not OUR FAULT.

RAPE is not OUR FAULT.

YOU have a God-given free will to entertain sinful lust or to RUN IN THE OTHER DIRECTION.

YOU CHOOSE.

You are a MAN.

So MAN UP.