Saturday, December 22, 2007

It is the Christmas season. A time of warmth and family for some, but also a time of loneliness and depression for others. For me this year, it is a little of both.

I spent this evening at church helping herd sheep, goats, and one very stubborn donkey into and out of the living nativity scene. Last years pageant was a very emotional one for me. When I was a teenager we had a similar pageant, started by the same pastor that began the tradition here. I had only been attending the church here for a couple of months last Christmas. Hell had been breaking loose inside of me over past abuse issues as I began building a relationship with a new pastor in the same denomination. I remember sitting and wondering, "Would I still be around next year for the pageant." Now I wonder about about 2008.

Tonight brought back a lot of thoughts of this past year. Times with Tom, trying to work through my fears and emotions; phone calls to Bob, my first abuser; and finally a day of confrontation and closure for me as I faced Bob with Tom by my side. It has been quite a year.

I find myself wondering where I will be next year. Will more issues be settled inside of me? Will I finally have closure with the denomination as a whole? Will I have finished dealing with the shame I have carried for so long over the second pastoral sexual relationship?

I find myself now in the thick of dealing with that second relationship. Tonight while herding the very stubborn donkey, my hand was caught between the rope and the stall we were trying our best to tug him in to. I yelled pretty loudly as the rope began to feel more like a vice. A couple of blood vessels were popped but some ice and Gladys' wrapping it and it felt a lot better.

Gladys is Tom's wife. She is also the church nurse. And, I am transferring my emotional stuff all over her. Transference is one of my best accomplishments! Helpful when I realize it and can use it to find freedom.

Minton's wife Sue was also a nurse and one time wrapped my knee for me after an injury offering me the same kind intervention. The replay of history hit my emotions before they hit my understanding. I went into the restroom and cried over the pain I was feeling without a clue as to why I felt such intense sadness. An hour or so later and the light bulb came on. The parallel between the two situations had brought long buried emotion to the surface.

I don't know how to explain to those of you that read my blog, the power of past emotions. I wanted to run to Gladys for approval. I wanted to apologize for something I never did to her. I feel so much shame over my behavior with Minton and how I chose to stab Sue in the back when I crossed the line with her husband.

Shame is surfacing everywhere. My past two nights sleep have been interrupted by multiple dreams of abuse and agents seeking me out for abusing other children. I have woken with shudders of grief, waves of confusion, and a nauseated stomach.

Yet, all this is good. Hard but good. It has taken 7 years of work to get here to the place that I can now face this tragedy. I know that I am on the verge of a tremendous healing. I feel so alone. I know that my therapist, Dan, understands. I wonder if others who have dealt with this type of issue understand or am I truly alone in this venture. And I am aware that many are in my life who have no clue as to what I am dealing with or the tragic depth of pain and destruction it has carved into my soul.

Pastoral sexual misconduct caused me to lose so much. I just want someone to put their arms around me and understand.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Shrinking my Shame

Just a little bit of a pun in this title..... as I just spent an hour with my shrink working on shrinking my shame.

Dan's great, and I continue to grow in my appreciation of him. Ever encouraging, he picks up on what is important, sees my anger, feels my pain, and understands the depth of it all. He never thinks something is not a big deal. He sees past the outside to what occurred inside.

Tonight I finally uncloaked some details of my relationship with Minton. I expected the most difficult part to be the sexual details but I ended up sharing, remembering little of that. What wrenches itself up and out of me is the immense fear and shame. Fear of being caught. Shame of what I am doing - not doing, did. But that Freudian slip reveals the immediacy in the emotion associated with these happenings of 30 years past.

I recalled our first tryst. The shame of giving in to his request that I come by his house on my way to work. I described the day he reserved a room at a hotel just out of town. He lied about where he was and took the day off. I remember the stares as we swam in the pool. I remember the dark headed lady that kept looking at me and knew the truth. I remember the horrible desire to hide and run but simultaneously feeling trapped and unable to. Perhaps worst of all, I remember the day his parents returned from their vacation early and found me at their house waiting on Minton to return from the store with me something to drink. I remember the horror I felt as I pushed opened the locked screen and ran out the door and ran on and on until I finally stopped exhausted and sat on a hill and waited on Minton to come and find me. I remembered the sick feeling.

I sat holding the pillow tonight wanting to throw up while Dan summarized all the emotion I had described: fear and more fear and shame - mounds of it. The horror of being trapped in something that I could not find the ability to end. The driven neediness inside warring with the anxiety - neither winning. To walk away meant complete aloneness. The church had long ago dumped me. I could not do it until my fear became so great that I couldn't not do it.
I left Dan's tonight with a smorgasboard of emotion. All I had uncovered was still fresh but right along with it was this fantastic relief from having shared it with someone else - not just the words but the vivid emotions that accompany the memories.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Short Update

My normal desire to post blogs has taken a vacation for some reason, but I felt I needed to go ahead and push it in order to keep folks up to date.

A week ago, I emailed the regional minister and asked for an update as to the appointment of the task force and the answers to my questions. He had promised me that when the regional assembly was past he would get back to me. I sent an empasioned email asking for what he had promised. Reg immediately responded with the fact that the task force was appointed but they were waiting until the first of the year to start meeting.

As far as my questions, the ones I asked in August that he failed to answer and has still left unanswered, I had to send another to get a response. I found out that he was not in the office but out of town at his mother's house who had just died. He once again promised to get me answers as soon as he returned.

Who in Bob's church was notified about his misbehavior? Was the policy followed or not? If I do not hear by the first of the year, I am not sure what to do. I know that I probably have a legal case. Will I do it if that is what it takes? The biggest question is what will it cost me if I do sue and what will it cost me if I do not.

On the other side of the coin, I just heard from my therapist, Dan. There is some unsurety as to my insurance paying for an more sessions this year. The association Dan works with is supposed to be finding out, but he has not heard anything back from them. He will ask again Monday but told me to just plan on showing up Tuesday. If the insurance won't swing it, then he will throw it in for a Chritmas present. Yes, you heard that clearly. He is an amazing man.

Most of my spare time has been quickly taken up by Christmas buying, wrapping, and decorating with a little party going and some school work added. I am looking forward to a 2 week break as much as the kids are.

My eyes are slowly closing. It has been a busy day. Happy Advent!


Saturday, December 1, 2007

A Friend's Story

Mona Brewer is a friend of mine. We have only met on two occasions but we have kept in touch since then. She sent me this link from an Atlanta radio station concerning her illicit relationship for 14 years with a very well know minister named Earl Paulk.

I invite you to listen to her story and think. Think about the power of this kind of relationship in a person's life. Think about how the church must appear to the world.

This is very sad to me.