- shame, shame and more shame
- lack of trust of myself
- What is wrong with me?
- self doubt
- self flagellation - Do you understand the seriousness of what you have done?
- fear of myself
- identification of attention and approval with sex
- increase in need for approval
- loss of healthy boundaries
During my relationship with Bob, my boundaries were destroyed. I equated sexual desire with acceptance. I was eaten alive inside by a hunger for approval and attention that was promised by the sex but I never seemed to attain. Have you ever been so thirsty that you would have drunk anything? I have - once. Since then I always make sure water travels with me. I have carried inside of me a similar thirst for approval and attention and acceptance. The hole inside my soul was unquenchable and constantly drove me to have it filled. It tormented every waking moment of my life. Tell me I am OK. Tell me you like me. Tell me I did a good job. Tell me you care about me. Tell me I am special. Tell me....... Only no matter how much love was shown, it never filled the hole. I became frantic to make the pain and emptiness stop.
- involvement in a controlling church that was full of misogyny
- anger toward authority which led to frequent conflict
- transference onto relationships in the present
I sought approval in a very controlling and misogynous church. Misogyny means hatred of women, and women were treated like dirt. We had picnics at which the men played and the women took care of the kids and believed that was their place. The men went to meetings that the women were too fragile to understand or learn about. Women were not allowed to pray for anyone if their husband was not present. Whatever issues a husband might have was immediately deflected back onto the wife for if she was a proverb's women her husband would be an elder and "sit in the gates". If he wasn't - then there was something wrong with his wife. It took years for me to see the error of the church and then I couldn't leave it out of some warped sense of duty.
Anger toward authority leaked out of me like steam out of a pressure cooker. I was unaware of it, but those in authority felt it. It was my goal to emasculate them and expose their weaknesses. I transferred my anger at Bob and Minton onto others. Some deserved it but others did not. Relationships were affected and I was seen as someone to be avoided.
- general anxiety disorder
- need to be perfect, fear of failure increased
- emotional turmoil
- church avoidance
While prior to the abuse I had been an A/B student, after the abuse I had to be the top of the class. Being the top made me special and gave me attention and approval. It also drove me and haunted me and made me rather obnoxious at times. As I entered my late 40's an underlying anxiety built inside of me. It still remains and medication keeps me even keel most of the time. Panic attacks and a racing heart keep me taking that medication.
I left church and could not go back until 9 months ago. If I went for a wedding or once for the baptism of my son, a Xanex got me through the ceremony. Being in church was too frightening. I don't know whether I was more afraid of what someone there might do or of what I might do if let loose.
- life focus stolen
- identity changed and centered on abuse
- dropped out of college
- loss of friends
I dropped out of college early on because of the emotional turmoil over the abuse from Bob and Minton. I spent the the next 25 years pursuing the direction that brought the least anxiety. Even my eventual return to college at the age of 43 was in part out of fear of failing if I returned to the work force.
Much of the time in my 30's and 40's was spent wrestling with the after affects of the abuse. I did not always connect the two but without the abuse, much that brought turmoil into my life, would not have had its hook in me.
I lost dear friends when the relationship with Minton was aired by a pastor that promised to protect my identity. I had already been thrown out of the church group years before due to discomfort between me and Minton's wife. Then, post abuse, I was once again blamed for the action of my pastor and deemed too dangerous for some to allow their children to be around me. Their children were allowed, however, to hang out with Minton - at least until the truth came out.
I sometimes wonder who I would be if Bob had never happened - in one sense, a pointless question. Nevertheless, my life was changed. Oddly if you look at it one way, what I did to myself because of the abuse, was the deepest damage. It was not the physical happenings that hurt me, but the self hatred and despite that ate me alive.
Shame is a devourer of souls.