Childhood should be fun and free. Children should be able to live those precious few years safe and carefree. Children ought to know and trust that they are protected by the ones they love.
Those were missing from my own childhood.
My childhood was marred by horrific trauma and deadly secrets.
I wrote the first portion of my story here if you wish to read it from the beginning.
Death of a Hero, Death of Hope
When I was 3, my dad died in a fatal car accident. My mom was left on her own to care for my brothers and me. It wasn’t until my young adulthood that I discovered my dad was an alcoholic. The disappointment I felt can’t be described.
Before I knew the truth, I would have grandiose and heroic tales of how my daddy died. I even went to the extent to tell friends that he died fighting lions and tigers. I understand now that I wanted my dad to be my hero. I longed for him to protect me, I so wanted him to be valiant, brave and courageous. And then to find out that he was an alcoholic and that his drinking was the cause of the accident that not only took his life, but the life of his friend as well, was beyond disheartening and disenchanting for me. I lost the person I believed was supposed to be my hero. My heart was broken.
But, sadly, that wasn’t the extent of my trauma and wounding. My enemy had something much more sinister planned for me. To him, age doesn’t matter. In fact, I believe that if he can destroy a person at a very young age, then he is thrilled about it. He will use whatever dark and destruction plan he deems necessary in order to accomplish his evil work. Age is not an issue with him.
An Innocence Lost
Beginning at age 6, the sexual abuse started. Little girls and boys should never, ever have to deal with that kind of damage. I was completely filled with shame. When I started telling my story of childhood trauma years ago, people would ask “Why didn’t you say something then?” Can I be brutally honest here with that line of questioning? It really is one of the stupidest questions anyone can ask a survivor after they have just disclosed. It’s not like I can be sitting at the dinner table and say, “Can you please pass the carrots? Oh, by the way, do you know what so-an-so did to me the other night?”
Survivors are so full of shame that to try and tell something so horrific takes a huge amount of risk and courage. However, I did try and tell someone who could have protected me and helped me to heal from the horrifying trauma that had already occurred. I remember where I was when I told this person. I said, “So-and-so touched my breast.”
The response I received was discouraging, “Well, he’s just a pervert anyway.” And that was it. Nothing more was said. Nothing was done. The message I heard was very clear. I don’t matter. I was not worth protecting. What I have to say doesn’t count. My voice, crying out in desperation for help, remained unheard.
You see, it’s not that we don’t tell. We do, in some way. People are just not listening. People don’t want to hear such things. So, it is much easier to just ignore and not listen. When you find out someone you love was abused, don’t ask that dreaded question. Just listen.
Believing The Lies
Because there wasn’t just one offender, I believed many lies about my value. As I got older, one of the offenders would continue to threaten me and terrorize me. He no longer touched me, but the memories and mental torment would force my heart to freeze in panic. Words cannot describe that type of bondage. So much fear, anxiety and pain.
While this darkness and shame was locked up tightly within my heart, it manifested in its own ways. I would experience unpredictable bursts of anger – one time, in a fit of rage, I threw my eyeglasses onto a rocky beach b/c my offender had picked me up to throw me in the ocean. My glasses were just like my heart – shattered beyond repair.
It is unbelievable how that kind of wounding can totally mess up a person; warp their thinking and their identity, but it is also unbelievable how well it can be hidden.
I became so good at hiding my past of childhood trauma. I was a compliant girl. I never made any kind of trouble when I was younger. But I felt so lonely and misunderstood. I already knew I wasn’t worth keeping safe. How I felt didn’t matter. The lies of my enemy already made their home in my soul, deep within my heart.
The feelings and pain were still there, like a monster under the bed…waiting.
And when those monsters started to crawl out from underneath, the mess that was created was one I could not clean up alone.
In this passage ‘You’ is in reference to Jesus. God has called His Son to be our Light in darkness, to rescue those of us who are sitting in the darkness of a prison house.
That desolate prison house will be a ‘former thing’.
He will make new things spring forth in our lives.
Do you dare to hope in this promise?
**Please understand. I don’t share my story of childhood trauma so people feel sorry for me. That is not my goal here. Some of you may be burden bearers and stories such as the one I am in the midst of telling break your heart and weigh heavily there. I get this. I am a burden bearer as well.
But we can be confident of this: this story is just a chapter in my life. It is not the end. The Redeemer is on His way. He is coming. I share my story so that those who are living with such darkness can know HOPE.
I will continue to share my story here. If you know someone who needs to hear this truth – who needs to know her Redeemer is on a rescue mission for her heart, please pass it along.
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