Why? I’ve always asked why but never found the answer. Asking why always left me with more questions so I built a defense mechanism through strength which allowed me to move on and focus on “doing” something about the facts instead of feeling the emotions. If I asked myself, “what am I going to do now”, I could shove the pain and pretend that I was progressing forward. But I still never had closure as to “why” something happened. Was it something I did, didn’t do or could have done differently? Why do I jump into everything with both feet and then have to walk backwards to gain firm footing?
Why? The main cry of my heart when searching for answers to why is, “I don’t understand”. Shock is the assault felt against my body and mind as it paralyzes me with more question of “how could this be”? As a child I didn’t even have the words to describe all the feelings that were gripping my heart, much less my violated body. I couldn’t begin to describe the extreme lack of trust that was wiped from my little self as I submitted to authority because I had no choice. This shock, this pain and pretending that I’ll be ok if I pull myself up from my boot-straps, just further lied to me about who I was because I never allowed myself to mourn my loss: the loss of innocence, the loss of imagination, the loss of child likeness, the loss of being nurtured, the loss of family, the loss of natural development, the loss of decision-making, the loss of expression, the loss of honesty, and the loss of understanding why I would see life differently than my peers forevermore.
Why was I even born? I prayed to a God I didn’t even believe in to take me home to heaven every night, furious upon opening my eyes the following morning to find He must really hate me if He let me live another day. So I shoved the shock or being victimized and violated, unloved and not accepted so I could cope with the demands of a dysfunctional home. But why? Why was my life so sad, heavy and hard? Why couldn’t I make sense of other people’s pain that engulfed me, that I felt pressing upon my head like a vice? What would happen to me, why was I left alone to deal with the pieces of a broken life that I was trapped in? Why did I have to endure being unwanted, mistreated and abandoned? Why was I expected to find answers for such complicated matters?
I didn’t have time to figure out the why as a child because wave after wave of confusion kept me paralyzed emotionally. The best thing that I did was put one foot in front of the other to cut out the pain, cut out people who I believed caused me pain and find exit strategies from the pain. I often told myself, “I don’t need to feel”, as I pushed through satisfying a demand for someone else. The problem was that I eventually assumed I was helpless and in desperate need of rescue. The why’s came like spears of shock that directly hit my heart, and after spending my formative years enduring the confusion, I created an expectation of being left behind so I may as well leave first.
Where did I go wrong – I don’t understand? Why didn’t I run away when I had a chance – I don’t understand? Why don’t I run away now – I don’t understand? Why do I still run away now – I don’t understand? Why does it seem that I was cursed, that even God hated me? Why does it seem that I can’t have what others have? Why can’t I figure out the reasons behind all of my confusion? Asking why hasn’t brought me peace because I keep searching for answers to it from a place of personal blame and responsibility.
As an adult reaching inside to my broken-ness and educating myself about the memories my body holds in forms of physical pain, I can stop the assumptions of everything being my fault. As a grown person I can reach inside to my helpless and paralyzed three-year old mindset and stop re-living the shock of trauma by nurturing the little me. My tears as a child were founded in that shock, but I can cry as an adult with compassion for that little girl who couldn’t comprehend what was going on. I can start to admit my innocence and accept that because it was stolen from me, Daddy God wasn’t cursing me. Mourning the loss of my childhood is part of the process in recovery, it is also the guarantee that I can restore the childlikeness inside of me.
Abuse is often the culprit of relational rifts for the victim and all of her/his mistrust. As spiritual people we have to see sexual abuse as an assignment from the enemy of our souls to not only hurt the people involved, but to make the church impotent when confronted by it.