Wednesday, April 25, 2012

imperfect prose on thursdays -- telling the truth


I've been thinking about truth a lot lately. Actually, I've been thinking about truth for years. John 8:32 says, "The truth will set you free." I want truth, but fear it at the same time. Perhaps it is not the truth that I fear, but rather the reaction of others to the truth. 


I consider myself a "pathologically" honest person. I tend to give more information than is needed, to validate and prove the veracity of my comments. This is the result of being repeatedly told by abusers that no one would believe me. From the time that I was four years old, I was constantly told by several people that I was a liar, and if I told my parents about the awful things these people were doing to me, that my parents would abandon me. I believed the abusers. Why wouldn't I?


I was raised in an environment that taught truth was the ultimate determination of value and character. I felt that I was a liar because of all the things I hid and kept to myself. I was unable to "tell the truth" because I feared for my life as threats had been made -- if someone tells you they will shoot you or drown you, of course you believe them when they tell you your parents won't believe anything you have to say. 


When I first began to "tell", my therapist quoted John 8:32 to me. I knew it had to be right because it was Biblical, but I couldn't "feel" it. I wanted to be believed so badly! I remember telling my therapist the first time about any of the abuse. I talked with my eyes closed, head lowered, shoulders hunched. There were lengthy pauses. It took everything in my being to force the words out of my body. I could only speak in third person -- "J held the girl down" "the little girl was terrified". After I had recounted the episode to him, I peeked through half closed eyes, and asked, "Do you believe me?" He said he did. The relief was palpable. I had told and the world had not ended! I asked, "Why do you believe me?" He asked me why he wouldn't believe me. I couldn't answer, but in my heart I knew that if he undertood how terrible I was he wouldn't be asking that question. 


It's taken a lot of time and therapy to get to this point of telling. Most of the time it feels good. I'm not out for pity or sympathy. I just want to feel like an honest person. I want to be set free.


link up at imperfect prose


8 comments:

  1. i hear you...i think that when trust is violated...not only is is hard to trust others but it also makes it hard for us to feel like we deserve trust as well....i dunno maybe that makes little sense, but i know what you are saying...smiles...and i am glad you are making progress...

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    1. What you say makes sense to me! Thank you for commenting and welcoming here. This is a tremendously supportive group, and I am grateful.

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  2. oh mel... can i call you that? mel? i want to hold that little girl close and tell her she is beautiful and loved and believable. so very believable. you are believable. and we love you.

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    1. Yes, emily. You may call me mel. You are all providing me with such an opportunity of sharing. I am so incredibly grateful for the warm welcome I have found here. I, too, want to hold that little girl.

      Thank you SO very much for believing me. I still am filled with wonder that people believe me, especially total strangers, when my family does not.

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  3. Oh amen! And God so longs to set you free.

    Last week, I attended a conference "When Survivors Give Birth". One of the key pieces was how we hear the survivor's story. There was a lot there, but it was stressed not to express any disbelief because so often the child was told that she would not believed. I believe you. I will pray for you on this journey out of the darkness and into the light. *hugs*

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  5. "i want to be set free" - - oh, me too. I believe you, I hear you, and I am so.so.so glad to be here to witness you speaking. this trust when violated is hard to restore. rest here with us awhile.

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    1. You are all bearing witness for me, and it simply amazing! Thank you all so much!

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