Spiritual Abuse Part 27__Shunning: The Aftermath and Rebellion ….Continued (3)….

I lived life by the seat of my pants, with no particular sense of direction. Lived here for a while, then moved there. Landed a job, and then found a different one. I was as tough as I was sweet, if you stirred up the demons in me, and I took flack from no one.

I learned to out-cuss the best and the worst of them, back then, when I felt helpless or threatened. This reaction was particularly true when it had anything to do with God and religion, or if I felt vulnerable.

Apart from Jesus, apart from hope, we are all capable of evil. Every one of us. Those years I learned what I am capable of, and how much I need a Saviour.

While I openly displayed my anger towards religion, in the area of sexual abuse I had been silenced. When boundaries were crossed in subtle ways, I stood my ground, but when violated to any extreme, there was no aggression in me, just silent tears. On one occasion I had the courage to ask the man not to do what he was doing, but for the most part I internalized the rage, and accepted their guilt as my own.

I share my story, and this anger because I know I’m not alone. Maybe you feel trapped and have a dark story buried deep inside of you. Secrets that no one knows, except you and God. Lost. Wounded. Angry. I share this especially for you. Because there is freedom. We don’t have to be slaves to our pain or our circumstances. The answer that worked for me, will work for you too.

My tough exterior—cussing and flipping the birdie when threatened, never antagonistic but always prepared to throw a punch—was nothing more than a shell to protect a hurting child. A little girl, lost in the shadows of the past.

Every now and then, my inner being—the lost little girl inside—would break through. Alone at night, I stood at my bedroom window, looking at the stars, and wondered if God was real. And, if He was real, did He love me? Was He disappointed that He had created me, if He really did have a hand in it? Was He a good Daddy? Did He miss me? Want me? Did I matter to Him at all?

The story of the prodigal son, displayed by Ms. Harms on the felt board, back in grade three, told me that He was waiting and watching, ready to run and welcome me into His arms, if ever I turned my heart toward home. What if that was the real God…

Tears poured down my face. I wanted desperately to know truth, to know God… if He was real. All I wanted was to be loved by Him, to shake the torment of never knowing truth, the trauma and uncertainty….

Then the moment would pass, and I would again wear the mask, cover the pain, and turn to my ‘little gods’ of cussing, smoking and partying to get through. At least I could see them, feel them and get lost in their effect.

If I had known the truth, I would have seen that God offered the ‘real deal’ with no side effects. But I wasn’t ready. I had not come to the end of myself, to a place where I understood what it was I needed from Him, and that all He wanted from me was my heart.

Hard living would teach me that truth…. Eventually.

……To Be Continued…

© Trudy Metzger 2012

Go to first post in this series: http://trudymetzger.com/2012/05/22/spiritual-abuse-introduction/

Spiritual Abuse Part 27__Shunning: The Aftermath and Rebellion ….Continued (2)….

Through the rise and fall of the eighteen months that followed, I rarely went to church, almost never contacted my family, and picked up some less than desirable habits. But that’s understated.

Ironically, it was at a Mennonite wedding, surrounded by white bonnets and plain suits, where I first got completely ‘plastered’ as my friends, unbeknownst to me, served me doubles from the bar. Not cool. I made an idiot of myself and had no idea what I was doing. I was brutally sick the next morning, flat on my back, still wearing a beautiful royal blue dress, nylons and shoes, with no memory of how I arrived in my bed. I never got that drunk again.

Friends introduced me to smoking and within months I was up to a pack a day. Drinking alcohol three nights a week, just for the party, wasn’t uncommon. I quickly learned that if you have a boyfriend, you don’t have to pay. Bonus. If you don’t have a boyfriend you accept offers from ‘gentlemen’, even from absolute strangers. (Usually that meant sharing at least one dance, even if he was not your type, or old enough to be your dad…. or grandpa. You did it for the freebie.)

I had no sense of personal identity or value, and simply did what I learned by watching society and culture, and adopting their ‘norms’. To use men in this way for the alcohol didn’t seem inappropriate at all. In fact, the thought never occurred to me that I was using people, or that even though it was culturally acceptable to do so, it lacked integrity. I had never been given the freedom to ‘think’, to weigh pros and cons, to make decisions based on what is right and wrong. I had only adopted a standard, a constitution. And society’s rules were very different.

All I had known was that the church constitution determined right and wrong within the context of religion, and I was no longer bound. If they were right, then I was going to hell. And if I was going to hell, I would party on the way down. No conscience. No rules. No constitution. If they were wrong, God would have to find me and prove Himself to be more than they made Him out to be. I wanted a Hero-God, not a villain.

Had I applied that same philosophy in relationships with men, I would have been better off. But I was so empty, so insecure, and so desperate for acceptance that I looked for only one qualifier in a man—he had to like me. That was it. If there was zero chemistry, that was fine, if he had nothing to speak of in looks, that was a non-issue, as long as he liked me.

Violence and death threats in our home had devalued me, and my culture had given me no reason to believe that I was liked, or even likable, so I craved validation. I even doubted that my best friends liked me. Was sure they just put up with me… pretended. When boys looked at me in church, and whispered, I was sure they were making fun of me, saying how ugly I was.

This is why, if a man could prove they liked me, or at least make me feel attractive, then he was good enough for me.

Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t sleep with every man I dated, nor did I hop in bed with them the instant they liked me. If a man liked me, the person that I am, with my quirky humour, my hyper personality, then I gave him my time, not my body. Even if I had given my body, at this point it wouldn’t make any difference. That was then, this is now. Then I was lost and hurting, now I am loved and valued by my wonderful husband. He knows every little secret, and looks beyond all the ‘stuff’, accepting me for who I am.

I don’t fear that you will judge me either, because most of us have crossed those boundaries before marriage, whether with our spouse or another lover. Sure, we pretend we didn’t… Wouldn’t… Never! But that’s an illusion. I get ‘the confession’ with well over 50% of Christians I meet with. Whether it’s the ‘almost did it’ confession, or the ‘went too far’ confession, or the ‘never meant to go all the way’ confession.  Even the seniors. So let’s not pretend. It does nothing positive for the next generation.



And, if you can look me in the eye and say, “Oh no I di’ent”, then bless you. You are not part of the majority, even in Christian circles… including in ‘plain’ cultures. Most of us were not so discreet.  Am I endorsing or encouraging sexual indiscretion? Heaven forbid! I am suggesting we drop the pretenses. There is power and freedom in truth and honest confessions. It is the best protection for your kids. If you’re hiding it, they’re probably doing it… and hiding it too. You’ve given that spirit power.

I admitted in that little prayer room that I was not a virgin, so I don’t write anything to mislead you into thinking I protected or kept my virginity. I didn’t . Didn’t really know it mattered. Religion had taught me that sex was bad. Sin. It takes you to hell if you’re not married. I was going to hell anyway. Nothing lost, nothing gained.  If only I had known the truth…

….. To Be Continued…

© Trudy Metzger 2012

Go to first post in this series: http://trudymetzger.com/2012/05/22/spiritual-abuse-introduction/

NOTE: In a future ‘Parenting Series’ I will write about teaching our children about sex and equipping them to face the battle, to value themselves, their virginity and what they are really protecting when they wait. (I know….  ‘how ancient of me!’… it’s the twentieth century!) However outdated the concept, virginity is a beautiful thing and our kids deserve to know the truth about sex.

© Trudy Metzger 2012

Go to first post in this series: http://trudymetzger.com/2012/05/22/spiritual-abuse-introduction/