December 4, 2019
I have been falling down with my meditation and step homework (writing What did God do for me today that I could not have done for myself). I am still binging junk food and Netflix at night, getting to bed late then getting up late so that I do not have time to meditate. Repeat.
But last night I read my entry to my support group. They seemed to relate to a lot of it. I believe I am helping them telling them not to stuff their memories of their abuse and to give the anger and sadness space to feel them. The only way to the other side is through, as they say.
One of them asked me if I thought it was common that survivors of sexual abuse are abused more than once. I remembered what the book The Courage to Heal said, that it was. I answered yes. She asked my opinion on why. I thought back to my abuse – why I went back to Fred over and over, then Dan, Roger, Leo, Dick and Jeff. The intensity of the violent behavior and emotional abuse seemed to get worse over time, not better. I kept going back to the men who were abusing me, especially Jeff. Maybe to punish myself? Then, I did the same with alcohol abuse. And now I am binging junk food (I have gained 10 pounds) and always criticizing myself and full of self-blame for going back to men who were mistreating me and then finding another. Am I punishing myself for my past?
“For me, subconsciously, I felt like I deserved it. It didn’t occur to me that I deserved better. That I deserved to be treated better. So, maybe because of that, I attracted them. And then I kept going back to them.” I answered to my fellow survivor.
That is it! That is the key! That is what I must forgive myself for! God has helped me to see that my 14 heart breaks after Fred, my alcohol abuse and now my TV and junk food abuse is me trying to punish me. Because I think I deserve it. Because I am ashamed and feel unworthy. God has made me aware that I kept going back to painful relationships because it never occurred to me that I deserved better treatment from a relationship.
My dream last night: I am with a group of survivors at a retreat. We all hold ourselves less worthy to some degree. We are to go to a series of stations and do the activity or writing assignment at each one. The tasks seem arduous and endless. At some point, we must set up our bed. I have completed several stations. Then, I instinctively realize that we can skip the remaining stations, wherever we are, and graduate and go home if we just write an essay on why we are worthy and deserving!
The next morning, I thought, “Wow, that is powerful. Will this stop my binging? Will this stop my punishing myself. I think about all of the wonderful achievements I have had in my life: my successful career, travel, writing my book, etc. I can’t wait to tell my group.
Then, it hits me: My worthiness has nothing to do with my life achievements! Why am I worthy and deserving of respect? Just because I exist! Because I am a child of God! Because I love! I can stop punishing myself, because I am Love!
I release my punishment! I surrender to Your will for me, God! I think of the lyrics to a song we sang in choir, “I let the Spirit run my life. My heart is open wide, yes, I’m only here for God. No more struggle, no more strife. With my faith I see the light. I am free in the Spirit, yes I’m only here for God.” I stop punishing myself with food and TV abuse. I love myself just because I am! I do not deserve punishment for my past mistakes, JUST AS I do not deserve love for my life achievements.
Nobody promised life would be easy. Grab a cup of coffee, and we'll share the trials, tribulations and triumphs. Life's a little easier when you realize that others have gone before you.