Thursday, May 31, 2007
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Friday, May 25, 2007
- Everything said in the group is confidential. What happens here, stays here.
- We share feelings and experiences, which just are or were. There are no right and wrong statements. Please don't judge the statements and don't judge the persons who share them.
- When speaking use "I" statements rather an "you" or "they." Please focus on your feelings, not opinions.
- Avoid individual problem solving. Individuals can learn from others' experiences and solve their own problems.
- Giving and asking for advice is not allowed. It is empowering and healing for us to gather ideas that will benefit us. None of us are experts and none of us know what is best for another.
- The session is divided into two parts. During the first part, everyone is invited to share their experiences or feelings individually. No on speaks more than once during this part. There is no discussion during this time. The second part is an open discussion when everyone may talk about what they learned from the previous sharing.
Two things stood out to me last night. One: Diversity was great. We were all very different and probably would not have congregated together if put in a room full of people. But when the sharing started -we were all knit together in our respect and care for one another. Two: All of us there last night have chosen at least one way to try and change the world for the better in relation to sexual abuse and everyone's way was different and creative.
For me, it was a good experience and a very needed one. For me it was a 2 hour drive up and a 3 hour return trip due to work on the highway and the bottleneck behind it. That is a lot of driving. Will I do it again? I don't know. It cost me about $35 for gas and supper but the greatest cost was the exhausting return trip...and I dozed for much of it. My husband had accompanied me and drove home.
Yet, the people there last night have already snared a special place in my heart.
Monday, May 21, 2007
Upon hanging up, I gave my rendition of the other side of the conversation to my husband and Tom. Hubby was quiet and not very comfortable with the shallowness of the conversation. Tom asked me how I felt.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
This time, I plan to stay put until God finishes. Wherever you are in your time of healing from whatever it is you are healing, may you find the grace to be the clay on the wheel and trust the potter's hands.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Sunday, May 13, 2007
So many emotions fill this recent journey of mine. Today as I sat in church, listening for God and praying over and over, "God, let your will be done, let your kingdom come in this decision Bob will make", my mind wandered to his possible answer of "No, it will cost us too much as a family." And suddenly tears welled up in my eyes. Tears of disappointment. As those tears flooded my face and my husband handed me his handkerchief, I realized the disappointment went much deeper than the possible future meeting.
Disappointment. Disappointed in God for one. Though I stopped shaking my fist in God's face and let go of the anger over a loving father allowing such a horrendous thing to happen, I find disappointment remains. Hmmm. I know that this is my stuff, not God's. How must I align my understanding of God to not feel he let me down? Or do I simply acknowledge the disappointment and let it go too?
Disappointment in church and pastors runs deep. Fear of them runs deep. A year ago, I could not have entered a church without a Xanex to get me through it. Today I attend regularly but I can't join. And often I feel disappointed in the church. I spent a great deal of my life feeling that way.
Disappointed that a time of my life that should have been a time of jubilation was not. This morning we celebrated both Mother's Day and graduation Sunday. We celebrated 9 young lives who will soon move on to college or careers. They looked so young. And then I cried more. No telling what the people at this church, where emotions are not readily shown in the service, must think. The tears would not quit flowing.
Tears. I think these were healing tears and at two points I felt an overwhelming sense of God's presence.
Later today, once again I fell into the feeling of desperation of needing to see Bob. I just have to finish this no matter how. Then I remind myself that "No, I will not repeat the 17 year old's path. I will not seek his approval and pat on the back and sacrifice my need to get it." Twice now that has surfaced and twice now I have realized what was happening.
At 17 I was deeply disappointed in myself. At 51 I am proud of the 17 year old who made it through the abuse. I want to put my arms around her and tell her "I am not disappointed in you. You survived and I am proud of you."
Saturday, May 12, 2007
"In response to your question a scripture came to mind. Luke 17:1-3 1Jesus said to his disciples: "Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. 2It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.
As I read this Jesus is saying both/and. Yes there is sin involved, BUT who does he reserve the harsh judgment for? The one who caused his 'little one' to sin. I think Jesus is saying to me, and maybe you, confess your part in all this, but recognize you were victimized, that another set you up to sin, placed the temptation before you and abused the role God had placed them in; be they Apostle, Elder, Deacon, Teacher, Youth Director, Supervisor, or Pastor. "
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
This is what happened: I had an appointment with my pastor, Tom, and in the back of my head I thought I might go ahead and call Bob. Tom and I looked at his calendar to decide, if Bob agreed, when it might work for Bob to come over here and meet with me. I really didn't want a long period of time to pass between my contacting Bob and us sitting down - if he agreed to it, but Tom mentioned the fact that Bob would probably need some time to think his way through this, hopefully pray about it, and perhaps talk to his wife. So I looked at Tom and said, let's do it.
It took a little while to get the right phone number. I finally called the last church he had pastored and retired from 2 years ago and a lady answered. I told her I was trying to reach a man that had once pastored me and had been pastor there and told her his name. She asked me my name and then said, he was her father, and gave me the number. My God! I hung up realizing I had just talked to the little girl I had babysat. That was a very strange feeling.
I looked at Tom. Took a deep breathe. Dialed. Bob answered.
"Bob, this is Di ........and I used my present last name."
"Di.....and used my maiden name. " Dead silence.
"Bob, I am sitting in (church name) with Tom (last name) and I would like to talk with you about our relationship. Are you willing to talk to me?" I asked clearly but gently.
"I don't know, how angry are you still?" came a rather defensive reply. It was as if he was shooting arrows at me.
"I think I have dealt with most of that. I'm ok. I am ready to do this." I replied dodging the arrows and any reaction to him.
"Well I ask, because when T.N. (the regional minister I reported him to) came down here and talked with me and (wife) I was willing to sit down with you and your therapist.
"T.N. never told me you said that."
"I offered but T.N. said you were pretty angry and hurt and he didn't think you were ready." His voice remained defensive and betrayed a need to remain the one in control. My feeling was that he was saying that I was the one sick, but that didn't matter. What he thought wasn't truth and I knew it. I knew it deep inside and was even able to share from weakness and not strength.
Immediately upon his question of my level of anger and the tone of his voice, I also knew I was talking to a man unbroken. I responded with an amazing control and levelness and evenness through the whole conversation. Where did this woman come from?
"No, Bob, I wasn't ready. I had work to do. As a matter of fact, it was only this past fall after I came to this church that I finished enough to do this. I could never come to church here before. (I heard a quiet moan.) My mom moved to town and I took her to church. And when I did, every remnant left inside of me blew open. It wasn't easy. But I am through it, and I am ready, and I would like to talk. Can you?"
"Do you mean now on the phone?"
"Actually I was thinking of face to face and here at the church. It would mean your driving over." I added somewhat apologetically.
"I'm really sorry I hurt you." a slight tremor entered his voice. "I had no idea this would happen." "Are you still seeing a therapist?" he asked.
"Yes, I am".
"Is this something he encouraged you to do?" he asked somewhat patronizingly with the emphasis on the word "encouraged." He was still defensive but slowly his tone was changing and his voice cracked showing me his self control was lessening.
"No, he would never 'encourage' me to do something like this. It was my idea, and he has been supportive, and we have discussed it quite a bit, but he would never push me to do something like this."
"I would have to know it was his recommendation that you do this."
"He is supportive, Bob. I am fine. I am doing ok."
"I never saw you as a child, I know it was wrong and I was wrong not realizing it, but I saw you as a woman. I know that is not right, I am not saying it was but it was the way I saw you." he interjected in his defense.
Firmly but evenly I replied, "Bob, not only was I 17 and very much a child, but you were my pastor."
"Yeah, I know that. I understand that........" His tone never really sounded sorry. "We were such good friends and it just grew out of that."
Nothing in my tone was harsh as I said, "Bob, how did it come out of our friendship when I had only known you one day when it started?" Silence........
"Can you explain. I don't comprehend what you are saying." his voice was definitely quivering and inside of me power and a sense of truth was growing. I was very in control of myself and very aware of the fact that I was handling this wonderfully, much better than I would have expected. "I went by your house the first day and met you and your family and you asked me to meet you at the church to show you around the youth center and I did. I met you there the next day and on the walk back from the youth center you asked me if I had a boyfriend and I told you we had just broken up and then you asked me if we had sex. Bob, no body talked about stuff like that and I thought it was amazing and then when we got back to your office, you lifted my chin and you kissed me....and then on Thursday I babysat for (your daughter) and you came home while she was napping and we had oral sex and in three weeks time I was in bed with you."
He interrupted the last couple of words with, "That isn't what I recall. I remember taking you home from a lock-in at the church. You remember us having a lock-in?"
"I took you home and I remember kissing you when I dropped you off." he replied quietly and seemed to be a little hesitant."
He seemed uncomfortable and somewhat confused as I spoke the truth, yet I think he was being honest when he said he did not remember anything before that time. He did not accuse me of being wrong he simply said he didn't remember it.
The lock-in was well into his stay at the church - as in months down the road. He is truly in deep denial.
"That is what I remember" he continued. "Whatever the details, I don't think either one of us needs to rehash through it. I don't think that will do any good."
Carefully I replied, "I'm not sure I agree with that, Bob. Healing only comes as we face the truth."
"So are you willing to listen to what I remember?" I pried gently.
"I don't know. I don't know if it would accomplish anything. Would it help you?"
"Yes, I think it would."
"When T.N. and his wife came down here and talked to me and (wife) it really tore us up as a family. I had spent a little time with a counselor before then and after that spent about 2 years in counseling. (Wife) had her own counselor. The first person I told after T.N. came down here was my son-in-law and my daughter. (Daughter) went to counseling too. " All this was said with a tone that betrayed a belief that he was the victim and I the purpetrator of his abuse. There was anger in his voice and defensiveness. I didn't swallow it, but neither did I react to it. I felt like the adult listening to the child.
"Well, let me tell you what Tom and I are thinking."
"You told Tom, he knows all this?" He obviously missed my statement in the beginning that I was sitting there with Tom.
"Yes, I told him. And he has walked beside me supporting me in these months as I dealt with it...... There is not a lynch mob here, Bob. No one is out to lynch you. Not Tom and not me........ We were thinking maybe early June. Can I call you back in a week and see what you think about sitting down and talking?"
"Well, I just don't know that it will accomplish anything. (Wife) is out of town taking care of her sick mother. It tore us up so much after T.N. came down here that I don't know that it will accomplish anything. We won't both be back home until after the 16th, I am leaving the country briefly. If I do this, it will be a family decision. I have to talk to them all first. And I absolutely have to know this is what your therapist thinks you need to do," he said trying to put it back in my lap.
"I am talking with him and will be talking with him. I'll get back with you then, when you are all back. Are you ok?" I am not sure he registered that last question.
He ended, we both ended with a moment of concern for the other, though I can't remember exactly what either of us said. I hung up and looked at Tom who had been rearranging the books there in the church library as he listened to my end of the conversation.
"I did it Tom." and a big smile broke out on my face as he replied, "Yes, you did do it and you did it with kindness." We talked about the fact that Bob might very well call him tomorrow and Tom assured me he would let me know, and he would also tell Bob that there were no secrets from me - that anything Bob said to him would be shared with me. And then we prayed for Bob, on my request and we both prayed that truth would break through to him and with it grace.
I asked Tom if, now faced with two different stories, he believed me. He replied, "I can't imagine someone creating such pain for themselves." but being the concrete person I am, before I left church for the night, I had him look at me and simply say "Yes! Yes! Yes!"
I love that man! God has a crown for him.
How am I? Amazing. A little in shock, but amazed at myself and what came out of my mouth and how it came out of my mouth. I felt no fear or intimidation and who Bob is did not in the least bit define me or my ability to cling to truth. How he responded or responds is not the issue. How I responded is what it is all about.
Thursday, May 3, 2007
Update to Confrontation
Today was horrendous at school. Stress and more stress. Please continue to pray for me, much is wrong there and it hits me at a vulnerable time. I had heart palpitations again this evening for an hour and was on my way to the emergency room when they stopped.
As far as Bob, he talked to his son-in-law who is also a minister and to his daughter last night after my call. His son-in-law called Tom this morning. They know each other pretty well. No questions about the differences in our story, but Bob was confused as to my therapists part in this. Odd. I answered that 3 times. It seems he was concerned I had some terrible shrink who was pushing me to do this and saying there was no way over it unless I did. Tom assured him that was not the case, that John had not suggested it or pushed me, though he was supportive of whatever I chose to do. Also they were looking for reassurance that no was was out to stone Bob. Tom assured him of that and offered to talk to Bob if he would like to talk with him.
It all feels scary and the fear is because I am afraid I will not be believed. I had to ask Tom again if he still believed me. He teasingly said he was not going to answer that question but as my panic rose to a high pitched, "You have to!" he quickly reassured me that he did.
That is so important to me. Without the support of my dear husband and Tom, I could not do this.
Then as I sat to write this post a couple of hours ago, my husband put his arms around me and told me he had sad news. Taffy, my calico cat of 15 years, was hit by a car. I completely broke down and sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. I asked him to call my two sons and one of them immediately left his night of RISK playing and came over. The other son was hosting the RISK tournament and sent his love and a hug.
Odd how I needed my children at that time of grief. It was my very first response. Get me my kids, now! When my son arrived he just held me and patted my back and let me cry all over his shoulder. I think that is the first time that has ever happened. It was nice.
I am at my emotional limit and called in and got a sub and will stay home tomorrow and call the doctor. I have no doubt that the palpitations are due to the stress and that God used my sobs tonight to release emotions I needed to release. I will terribly miss my cat, but I knew that the depth of grief that came out of me was not only about Taffy.
Taffy, was my birthday present from Jesus 15 years ago. I had wanted a calico but everytime one was advertised in the paper it ended up being a tabby. People didn't understand what a calico cat was. Then on my birthday my husband had seen a posting in a vets office for one and called and went over and got her. I named her Taffy because she was all different colors like salt water taffy.
We buried her in the flower bed where we will soon plant some new roses on top of her. I like that idea. Those roses will recycle her life. We still have her son, a black and white long hair cat named Snoopy. I wonder if he will miss her too?
Saturday, May 5, 2007 More thoughts on the confrontation
My mind is a little clearer this morning, after losing my cat, and I am intrigued with the degree of denial Bob displayed. I will be glad to see John on Tuesday to talk about all this. His expectation as to Bob's psychological condition was right on target. "It was all about Bob, wasn't it?" The narcissism is evident along with the denial. Bob also seems to be looking for any reason that he can hang on me as to why he should not meet with me.
The fact that Bob sees himself as the victim of my reporting him is a loud statement as to his psychological condition. Woe to his family for all I put them through. There was no sense or suggestion that it was his behavior that brought this pain on his family but rather the confrontation by T.N. that I initiated that caused them such pain.
I wonder if his family sees this distortion or if they are too soon in the healing journey to do so.
Also a part of our conversation that I forgot about and left out of the original dialogue, centered around when he had been confronted. He seemed to think it an admirable quality that the first person he told was his son-in-law. His son-in-law however worked in the central office and had contact with the ministerial committee that looked at all this, had/has access to the file that now had my story in it, and saw frequently T.N. the regional minister. It seems to me that he really had no choice but to tell his son-in-law. Secondly, he could not remember when the confrontation with T.N. occured in relation to his daughter's wedding. He admitted his memory as to timing was very foggy and that was just 5 years ago. It was a major circumstance in his life and he cannot remember if it occured before the wedding or afterwards.
In reality, it occured after the wedding because I requested he not be confronted until then. My report occured 6 weeks prior to the wedding. Denominational policy stated that he should have been confronted within 24 hours of my report. The policy was set aside because I did not want to hurt anyone or rob them of the joy of the wedding. It had been 30 years and T.N. did contact elders in the church to make sure nothing that appeared to be abusive was occuring.
I see that Bob now has two choices as he wrestles with this new confrontation. He can decide I am creating memories so I can avoid some internal strife, or he can face the fact that he is erasing memories to avoid a similar strife. Since I openly admit my desire for the relationship and eager participation, and because Tom's conversation with his son-in-law reassured him of my mental state - it seems he is going to have a harder time nailing the inconsistencies on me.
Also my conversation with him was so healthy, placing this new discord of memories on my psychological state should be difficult. It seems that God, by placing in my life Tom, and thus Tom's relationship with Bob's son-in-law, is making it more difficult for Bob to remain in denial.
The curtain is wrent in two. (For those who may not understand the analogy, when Jesus died, the curtain that separated the inner section of the temple where God was supposed to dwell, from the rest of it was torn in two. This represents the fact that all persons whether priests or not can now enter the holy of holies or God's presense.)
Saturday, May 5 More Thoughts and Feelings
Today has been strangly full of emotion at times and lacking of them at other times. Anxiety to numbness - I have shifted between the two. I don't know whether my grief over my cat or my phone call to Bob or my conflict at work or all of them are at fault.
Anger has also surfaced over Bob's lack of realizing it was his own sin that hurt his family and not my reporting of it or T.N.'s confrontation. But the anger seems to be dissipating pretty rapidly.
I have had major stomach cramps both this evening and late yesterday afternoon. Odd. I had them the summer of Bob's abuse. After lunch each day they would double me over in pain. I can't help but wonder if the ones I am having now are not equally related to connecting with Bob.
I started to email his son-in-law. His email is online. But then I decided I didn't like his picture. Actually I wasn't sure about doing it so I didn't. I wanted to tell him to go get the chart and read what I reported. I want him to know what Bob is denying.
I had coffee with the associate pastor of the church and one idea that came from it was for me to make sure I am not trying to be responsible for Bob. I can't do that. God is big enough to take care of him.
I am about to fall asleep so off to bed I go. Thanks for all your prayers out there.
Sunday, May 6, 2007
The emotional journey continues. I have gone from excitement over my handling of the phone call on Wednesday, to grief over my cat, to numbness, to anger at Bob's denial, to once again seeking Bob's approval. I can sit as an outsider and watch my emotional movement and see the confusion and find it quite interesting, but when I go back into my self I feel a greater degree of anxiety than I have dealt with in quite some time.
The most recent feelings from today involved wanting to just have the chance to SEE Bob again. It suddenly didn't matter if I confronted him with anything. I just needed to go full cycle and see him and talk with him and forgive him and just be normal. While in that stage it sounded good but then I realized I was falling back into the 17 year olds running back to him on his terms.
The ache for his approval came up out of me as if it was 34 years ago. The mind is an amazing thing. I feel that ache for approval toward T.N. (who just responded to an email I wrote) to Tom, to Trey, toward these three pastors (funny that they all have names that start with "T", is there something godly about "T"'s. ) This drive for their attention and approval and affirmation is great at the moment. Should I give in to it and call Tom? It might help momentarily but it is so very deep and not about Tom at all that I am not sure if anything would relieve the anxiety inside.
I dread with a capital "D" going back to school tomorrow and facing Mr. J our retiring principal who has recently treated us with such control and disrespect. I am transfering my "crap" with Bob onto him, no doubt. My need for his approval has been dealt with to the point that I am not supposed to feel this degree of anxiety but I do.
Incredible, what comes rushing to the surface when we deal with the past. At least for the moment I can see what it is and that helps. It scared me when I realized earlier that my desire to just call Bob and ask to see him and to say to him that I forgave him and just talk about intervening years and deny the abuse had occured at all was the same thing I had done at 17.
How many times did he manipulate me that way? I remember 3 or 4 big ones but the whole relationship was built on his manipulation of my need for his attention.
I hope one day my own story of this week will help someone else.
Monday, May 7, 2007
No more heart palpitations since last Thursday but my anxiety level is definitely heightened. Our team or group of students (100 of them) go on a field trip tomorrow. There is less than 2 weeks left in school and everyone including the students are mad at me. I am making them do work on the field trip. Nothing I did satisfied my team. The principal called me stubborn for forking out my own $$ to carry water for the kids. Now the truth is that I am stubborn but I think that caring, responsible, giving, might as easily fit.
And the kids - they get cookies for doing the work as well as a grade. Bribery often works better than grades.
With Bob issues right under the surface, the loss of my dearest pet, and the stress of the field trip I am close to being maxed. Today was foggy. Not outside but inside of me. I actually do not remember much of the day. That is so strange. Other people do this, not me! Other people have panic attacks. Other people were abused. Other people have to take medication. Other people see a shrink just to try and be normal on the inside.
It isn't that I appear abnormal on the outside. I think I do quite well outwardly but those who know me best, know that times of shaking are not uncommon on the inside.
I plan on talking to John (shrink) tomorrow about my conversation with Bob and about my flipping back into approval mode. No, if this possible meeting is to do me any good, it will be because I am true to myself and the truth. I have at times continued to have a little anger but nothing like the past. It seems to dissipate with the passage of a small amount of time.
So that is my day. If you read this, pray that I survive tomorrow without my heart going off at 160 beats a minute.
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
I saw John today and it took most of the hour to catch him up on all the happenings since our last conversation. Following all the Toms, Bobs, T.N.'s, Trey's, etc. is confusing. I see him again on Thursday to further process my emotions.
The best thing he offered me was to accept the anxiety the same way I accept the grief over Taffy. It is part of the process and normal. Just recognize it and accept it and remember this is not Bob being in control again - though it feels that way. It is a result of this situation and I am not the only one feeling anxious. This will impact more people than me. So I am working on it being ok to be anxious. I haven't done that kind of work in some time.
Also he raised a new thought. The rest of Bob's family might want to talk with me too. Egads! I don't want to be the harbinger of pain though I refuse to be considered the source of it.
After I left John's, I began to give some thought to the increased anger I am feeling toward the denomination. I don't want that. I chose to believe from the very little bit that I was told, that Bob had gotten more help and was more repentant. I feel angry that the reporting process of 5 years ago seemed to protect Bob and leave me out in the dark. It was unfair to not be told what he said. Other than telling me that Bob admitted the abuse, cried a lot, and had gotten some kind of counseling in the past I have been left to wonder. I have some anger to work through. I feel as if Bob was put first.
Also, I am realizing that if Bob does not agree to sit down with me that perhaps more needs to be done to make sure he is not taking interim minister roles without a full psychological evaluation. I think I may ask to meet with the state ministerial committee in order to talk with them face to face, bring them up to date on my conversation with Bob, and to request they require the evaluation if he continues in any form of ministry, allow me to talk with a psychologist about the situation, and then accept or deeply consider the report of the psychologists as to whether Bob is fit to minister or not. I can at least ask and be at peace knowing I have done all I can do.
This should have happened 5 years ago and had I known it is a common practice I would have requested it. The abuse was so predatory. My story is not one of a weak and gentle man who fell prey to his own needs. My story is instead of a predator abusing a child. Day 2 - lines were crossed when he kissed me. Day 3 - sodomy. Week 3 - intercourse. And a year of sexual and emotional abuse followed that.
Bob remains very sick in my opinion. His victim mentality and defensiveness speak loudly of a man probably incapable of repentance and thus dangerous.
I hope this is all uneccessary. I hope Bob can admit to the truth and admit it to his family. If he can do that then healing can lie ahead. I doubt it though. But God IS God.
Wed. May 9, 2007
I have gone from great excitement and passed through a period of numbness to find myself angry once again, not so much at Bob but at the denomination, and finally tonight I find myself very teary eyed and sad.
Three situations have occurred that left me disappointed in a pastor, but the pain comes from the power I allow them to carry. One promised me we would talk as soon as the weekend was over - but I have not heard from him. One seemed to judge rather than simply listen. The other just didn't give me the hug I needed this evening. :-) Obviously a minor issue.
I have realized that where pastors are concerned, I have a deeply worn and rutted road traversing my soul. Though, I try to keep pastors and situations out of those old ruts, I find it hard to do.
I know the answer is two fold. I must find my acceptance in God and in myself.