Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Day 24 of 31

I've been re-skimming Judith Herman's Trauma and Recovery. You know going back through and reading the portions I underlined or starred or highlighted; the pages I turned the corner down on. 
I was diagnosed with chronic PTSD in 2000 and I read this book for the first time in 2003. It was the first book on the subject that really spoke to me. I found myself all throughout the pages. 
It was a good news, bad news dilemma. The good news was I'm not alone. My responses are consistent with others' who have suffered abuse. The bad news was it validated that all these terrible things in my head were true. 
I read a post the other day written by another survivor about serial victims. Another term that unfortunately applies to me. What is it about having been abused that makes other perpetrators see me? It's like having a target on your back, or a flashing neon sign that says, "Pick me". 
And for all those years I believed it was something I had done that made it keep happening, or that the repetition was proof that I was making it all up. More abuse, emotional this time, even though the abusers were long gone from my day to day life.
My therapist and husband keep saying "Be kind to yourself" and "get angry", but I don't know how. Honestly. 
I've spent my entire life finding fault with myself and avoiding anger, except the kind that used to come roiling out at inappropriate times. I've gotten that under control, because I don't want to be like the abusers. Angry for no apparent reason. Lashing out verbally and physically. 
So I'm rethinking anger and what it really looks like. You know, righteous anger. The kind of anger that says you may not hurt me, but don't worry I won't hurt you. 
The "be kind to yourself" is taking even longer. How do I know when I'm doing enough and when I'm just being lazy? It looks silly typed up like that, but that's really what I worry about. How much is enough to make me a valuable, worthwhile, whole person? How much fun can I have and how many things can I do just because I like it, before I've crossed the line and become self-centered and uncaring of others' needs?
And then I remember grace. And I think about the gift freely given to me. The little girl who was abused grown up to be the woman who is trying to stop that cycle of abuse. 
And God says: "But if you give them a hard time, bullying or taking advantage of their simple trust, you’ll soon wish you hadn’t. You’d be better off dropped in the middle of the lake with a millstone around your neck." -- Matthew 18:6 (The Message).
And I find comfort in God's adamant love for me, and choose to embrace His grace.





1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing that Scripture. And I know that feeling, of being a magnet to predators of all kinds. One good thing is that your radar becomes keen over the years :) The other thing is that you are enough even if you never do another 'thing' to make it so. You are enough because God says you are enough.

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