Saturday, December 22, 2007
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Saturday, December 1, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
I had a really good session with Dan last night and we continued to talk about my transferential feelings with Tom and their connection to the shame with Minton. I can tell I am making progress in defeating the shame because it isn't so strong as I talk about it. Even now sitting and typing I feel much more at ease. I also recognize that it will take more work to finish this.
I feel a little concerned and guilty that I am in no hurry to hear from the task force on sexual misconduct. I am dreading having to pull all that back out to deal with it again. It is so emotionally draining. I asked Dan what he thought about my change of feeling in this area.
Dan's thoughts were that it is not a problem since I am doing some good work in the moment and one thing on the burner at the time is probably enough for anyone. What I am presently looking at is timely and will further prepare me for the opportunity to share with the church's committee.
When I talk with Dan it feels so good to talk with someone who so thoroughly understands what I am saying. I don't have to work to make myself understood. We flow together. I feel a lot of support and peace in my relationship with him. And I trust him. Nice.
God's timing first with Cheryl and then John and now Dan has been so evident. Each of them has played a role in the work I was doing in that time period that the others would not have been able to play so well. His hand in my healing is an area I am very grateful for this season.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Thursday, November 8, 2007
I thought God told me to go home, drop out, and I told my mom and dad and they were upset but let me. I withdrew from the fall quarter and went home. There is massive shame tied to letting my parents down. There is shame over dropping out. There is shame in mishearing God.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Yet, on several occasions during the past 6 months, I have considered changing my personal therapist to the man who has seen my husband and I for 6 years. Dan and I have a relationship that transcends mine and John's. As I drove home on Tuesday evening and thought of the struggles and issues with Tom and his wife, subconsciously expecting to be betrayed, I didn't think of John and his support but rather that as long as Dan understood the dynamics at work in me and believed in my goodness that I could withstand whatever came my way. It was that moment that I knew it was time to change.
Dan agreed to see me personally and a letter is in the mail to John explaining things. We had talked a month ago about the possibility of this occuring, so John won't be totally broadsided by my decision.
I am sure it would be better if I went in to see John rather than tell him via letter, but insurance companies only pay for so many sessions and it is the end of the year. To use a session to talk to John about what I already talked with him about a month ago feels wasteful. At $150 a session, if he wants to talk, then let him do it out of heart and not my purse.
I bet there is a fortune of psychological issues in that last sentence!
Friday, October 12, 2007
Then he betrayed me.
Eaten with guilt, I went to he and his wife over the relationship with Bob. They listened and prayed with me. Within two weeks he made his move.
I remember the moment. I remember the thoughts sizzling through my brain. "Now what do I do? This is it. It is over. I have lost it all. I can run or I can go along with his wants." I had been betrayed by a man who I had known for 3 years and who I trusted as my pastor. I had trusted him enough to share about the other abuse. It had never occurred to me that he too would exploit me.
The internal struggle began. I argued with myself but I always gave in. I hated myself for not being able to tell him "no" as the relationship intimately progressed. The need to be special was riveting. It was all a lie, but the lie was easier to believe than the truth. The only "truth" I could seem to believe was that something was terribly wrong with me.
In time the small congregation began to pick up on signals and at his wife's pressing, the elders (who were all men) met to discuss the situation. I was not invited. I was not questioned. Instead, I was disposable and the church, who I saw as my family, cast me out. The end. Goodbye. Go away. I was devastated and to this day, I know of no other memory that has brought me such pain.
What had this man told them? I do not know. He obviously did not tell them the truth. Yet, I was blind to this new betrayal and having been thrown out and pushed away, I picked up the phone and threw myself completely into the relationship he wanted. At least that way, I was not alone.
I saw him frequently until one week God got my attention. On the way to meet this "pastor", after a year of avoiding God, I heard God speak, "Di, I am removing my hand of protection from you." Three days of hell commenced. We were caught together twice, once by a mutual friend and once by his parents, and then on the third day, I swallowed a yellow jacket and it stung my throat and as my throat began to close I could only think, "God don't let me die here with him." On the way back to my car, I broke off our "affair".
We ended up attending the same church and telling the pastor of our past. He was a legalistic man but one who believed God could heal. I was broken and hungry for that healing. My ex-pastor-abuser talked with him first. When I went to see him and talk, it never occurred to me that my ex-perpetrator might have lied about me. What I heard, I thought I truly deserved: "Do you understand the seriousness of what you have done!?" Looking back, it seems obvious that the story was probably misrepresented once again and for the third time a man who was ready to leave his wife for me a few weeks prior, let me take the rap.
Finally after a year in this church, the pastor and the predator had a falling out, and the predator was prepared to take with him a large portion of the congregation. In anger, the pastor went to those leaving and told them of my perpetrator's sexual relationship with one of the single women. It took about 2 seconds for people to figure out it was me, so once again my trust was betrayed and my secret exposed. I learned of this after a Wednesday night meeting when in the midst of mingling about, I was approached with the news. It seems he did not mean to break my confidence...........
So what did my perpetrator do in the face of everyone knowing? He lied. He placed the blame on me. His story was of my pursuing him and his weakness and inability to fight me off. Once again I was betrayed. I was shunned and branded while those told rallied to his side.
He was a coward. Unwilling to face the truth and have the balls to come clean, he lived the remainder of his life without ever accepting his responsibility. He died 2 years ago after suffering from some type of neurological disease.
I never denied my involvement. I didn't blame him any more than myself. I thought it was equally my fault. I accepted the part of it that was mine plus a whole lot more. No one understood the dynamics of power relationships back then. I knew this had happened to me, and never to anyone else, so there must be some terrible flaw in my soul.
Thirty five years later the past, at times, still controls me. Transference walks with me today. Tonight it is heavily consuming me and I continue to run and hide. Why should Tom be any different? How do I know he is different? When will he too betray me?
Monday, October 1, 2007
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Friday, September 28, 2007
Emotions are strange things. I wish I could tell you that I am jumping up and down with joy. It would seem I have a reason to rejoice. Instead, I have felt sad and numb for the past two days. Too sad and too numb to write the post.
Reg's response was brief. He left several questions unanswered and several revelations unresponded to.
I talked with Tom about the reply and expressed my ambivalence. I think he is frustrated with me. He wants to defend Reg and does so, until I argue with him a while. He seems to trust Reg but I do not. God spoke to my heart that I could trust Tom. Before I ever talked with him, I knew he was part of my healing. I do not trust Reg. That doesn't mean he is not trustworthy but while I have faith that God has placed Tom in my life for good, I am not in the least bit sure of that with Reg.
Here is Reg's reply:
I wanted to just quickly respond that I got your letter. Even as you wrote it I suspect you knew that I would not agree with everything in it. Thankfully, I believe that agreeing with a person is not the criteria for care concern and compassion towards another person. We are called to love each other regardless of agreement so I want to extend to you my expression again of my concern and care for you.
This past weekend, the Regional board acted upon the recommendation I made that a task force be appointed to work on reviewing and updating our procedures for response to Sexual Misconduct by clergy. Because the Ministry Commission has such an incredible workload, we felt it would get things accomplished quicker if we appointed a separate panel. That panel is being appointed and as soon as they begin meeting we will find an opportunity for your input to them.
I can’t predict the time line right now, but wanted to let you know that we are serious about responding to the issues you have raised and want to do so in a timely fashion.
May God continue to bless you
I have no clue what he disagrees with. Perhaps I will ask him.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Monday, September 3, 2007
Much of my proposal is based on the premise that the discrepancies in our testimonies are reason for many red flags. It is a fact that few victims lie. It is also a fact, actually stated in the Church’s present policy, that many accused do lie. What is not stated and is even more disturbing is the fact that perpetrators exist who can so compartmentalize their memories that they display complete denial of the truth. With a denial of truth comes an inability to find repentance or internal change. Looking toward the future, this type of discrepancy must be dealt with, and the many ways I proposed dealing with it need to be heard, wrestled with, and done so by the whole commission.
I have decided that in some way, my voice will be heard by the leadership of the Church. My desire is that this would happen in a similar setting and atmosphere as my conversation with you occurred. I desire to sit down and work with the Commission on Ministry as an invited individual with important experiences and strategies to suggest. I would like to be involved with a task force that is looking at and forming a newly revised policy. I am offering to give rather than to take.
If you remember, I asked (the previous state minister), via email, to be allowed to speak to the commission members, but my request never received a reply and the ministry commission met without me. I felt dishonored and silenced by this lack of acknowledgement. I need the present commission to offer me an opportunity to speak, as evidence of their good faith. I am requesting that you reconsider this decision and that you talk further with (the chair of the ministerial group) and other leaders on the commission before providing me with a clear answer to my request.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
- I want it to be forthright and not murky as his reply to me was. I am not a murky person. I prefer to speak the truth in love. I believe God honors that.
- I want to be honest in letting him know that I do not intend to remain silent in this. I do not want that to sound like a threat though.
- I want to open his eyes to the fact that those he is trying to protect from the embarrassment of this issue are going to be hurt more if I am shut out.
- I want to impress upon him that this is a passionate issue and the passion cannot be removed from it.
- I want to say that though his intent might be to share my points, since he seemed to not agree with them, he cannot do them the same justice I can.
- I want to challenge his statement on accepting the differences in mine and Bob's story. This is very dangerous and I want to point that out to him.
- I want to make it clear that I was never given the opportunity to give my opinion of the monitoring of Bob. I was TOLD that some would occur but not given any details and lead to believe I was not welcome to them. That is very different from saying I supported the direction it was going.
- I also want to make it clear that I requested to talk with the previous state minister about an advocate after having originally been unsure of that desire. And I asked to speak directly to the state ministerial committee. My email was never answered.
- He states there was some form of a response team but they never contacted me. I would like to know if there names are listed and if it was noted as to why I was not contacted by them.
I also intend to send the letter to the chair of the state ministerial commission.
I do not expect to be heard or to be allowed to speak. Yet, I have to try before I can take other roads to being heard. I forwarded Reg's email to David Clohessy yesterday and heard back from him today. He is the national leader of SNAP. I replied to his reply asking if he would help me if I decide to go public with this. He said he would be honored to help me. I hope it never comes to that. God, please open their eyes! This cannot be avoided. It has to be faced no matter how uncomfortable.
I am reminded of Trey Morgan's blog (http://www.treymorgan.net/2007/03/sexual-misconduct-among-church-leaders.html) and this quote:
"There are more questions that need to be answered. And this is a subject that we "as Christians and as a church" have ignored. "
I thank you Trey for not sticking your head in the sand! I wish you had the power to pull a few out for me right now. I wish all ministers were like you. Once again the church has hurt me. But men like Trey and Tom stand in righteousness and in the heart of Christ. I thank God for them.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Friday, August 10, 2007
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Saturday, August 4, 2007
Thursday, August 2, 2007
As I gave big smiles and hugs to them, I wondered at the power of my own position. I wondered how someone could even consider hurting one of them. Why would someone want control and power so much that they would destroy those smiles and joy at seeing you? I cannot comprehend it.
However I can comprehend crossing boundaries with a pastor. How scary it is at times when I see my own heart open to Tom. I thank God for my own healthy boundaries. It took many years to find the pieces and build them. I thank God for his boundaries. Yet, at the same time, I feel all the human emotions when I experience the acceptance and gentle care in his eyes, or we clasp hands in prayer, or I get a hug on the way out the door. Those are very intimate expressions and God's love is intimate.
I hope you don't judge me for admitting what I imagine most of us feel at times in similar situations. That is why it is abuse, because we do feel it. Pastors carry the power to give us hope, the power to manifest the love of God, the power to offer forgiveness and encouragement, the power of counsel, the power in a hand held and are around the shoulder, the power to call us to repentance, the power to pray for our healing, the power to bestow God's blessing.
I praise God for healthy boundaries. I pray for Tom's protection and I think I am going to add a new prayer. I think all pastors need this. I am going to pray special blessings on his relationship with his wife. The scripture says that a cord of three strands is not easily broken. That scripture was used in our wedding ceremony 27 years ago. May that third cord, God's Spirit, hold tight my pastor and his wife.
Pastors with integrity - God bless them.
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Reg, knew his answers were not satisfactory.
Today I talked with my pastor, Tom who is convinced Reg will follow up. Tom says Reg will do his best to meet my needs and to give him time to deal with the emotional bomb that has gone off in his lap. Not that I am a bomb but what happened to me is. Tom described how the shock of it affected him, how wrapping one's mind around the reality of what all I told him was difficult.
When Tom said that if nothing happened over a few months time to cause changes to be made to the policy, he would make sure something happened, I cried. I believe him. I trust him. When I shared my concern that Reg did not believe my evaluation of the three conversations with Bob, Tom agreed to call him and tell him his rendition as a support of mine.
I trust a pastor. Radical.
I miss my brother who was a pastor in the state, in this denomination and once the head of the state ministerial committee. Why didn't tell him? Oh how I wished I had. Yesterday my sister-in -law assured me that he would have supported me and helped me find resolution. Oh how good it was to hear that. And today I told Tom that though I had lost my brother as an advocate, I had gained his support - and it means a lot.
I wrote an email to Reg. I reminded him of the scripture of the 99 sheep that were left to seek out the one lost. Will this church choose to seek victims out when it is known they probably exist? I do not think I will be able to quit until I see that in writing.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
"It is recognized that justice, as referred to on pg. 3, as a desired goal of implementation of the policy, can only be served to the victim(s) as they are allowed open access to the results of their report. In reporting abuse, a victim seeks to achieve justice, regain power and control, and to prevent further abuse. Control has been taken from the victim in the form of the sexual exploitation or abuse. The (leadership of the) Church should take all steps possible to return control to the victim and honor their purposes in coming forward. This includes open disclosure of the investigation’s findings, disciplinary measures enacted, and any future monitoring of the accused. Without open disclosure the victim cannot be assured that the accused will not abuse
again and a sense of closure cannot be obtained."
- I was heard.
- Reg agreed to review all I had written.
- Reg will get back with me as to what he agrees with or disagrees with.
- Reg agreed to consider my requests.
- Reg will look into my folder and tell me the answers he feels he can offer me. If he cannot give me an answer for a reason he is unaware of in the present, he will tell me why he cannot give me the answer.
- Reg promised that the region would address some changes to the policy.
- Reg seemed disturbed that I never obtained a sense of closure due to the way the original report was handled.
- Reg winced noticeably at my statement that Bob was read my full statement but I was not allowed to know his statement, and this led me to a further sense of victimization.
- Reg apologized and tears filled his eyes over my pain on two occasions. In this he showed far more remorse than Bob.
- Reg seemed to have a hard time embracing the thought of mandatory psychological testing of all misconduct perpetrators.
- Reg seemed to have a difficult time believing my assessment of Bob and on several occasions verbalized his attempts to mentally come to grips with the concept of Bob being a true sociopath.
Tomorrow and the following days, I will try to give some further details of my own thoughts and feelings as well as details of the meeting. Overall, I would rate it a 7 on a scale of 10. My hope is that my rating will fall low in reality of what comes from the meeting.
I feel a hodge-podge of emotion. Relief. Gratitude. Anger. Frustration. Pain. Sadness. Hope.
Hope is the scariest of all because "Hope deferred makes the heart sick." That is somewhere in Proverbs and I am too tired to look it up.
Thanks for your prayers.