Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Spiritual Abuse

 ***** Reading this may be offensive or triggering for some readers***** 
Continue on at your own risk.

I saved the hardest for last.  Hardest because in my opinion this pain and hurt goes beyond the grave.  In my house I have a poster...
"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience" is generally credited to Pierre Teilhard De Chardin.
The pain of abuse hurts body, mind, heart and spirit.  The body heals itself, sometimes scarred but the healing happens.  The mind can be retaught to new paths of thinking.  The heart is stubborn but can with time regenerate itself.  The spirit is eternal...the grief of the spirit knows no bounds.  I remember a conversation with KavinCoach.  We were discussing the dark times of my childhood.  In our discussion we touched on death.  KavinCoach noted my total lack of fear of dying.  He asked me about it.  I half smiled, "They can only kill me once."  The darkest terrors of my nights conjure up the dedicated pursuit by my sick neighbor to break my spirit.  Sexual abuse was one of his most destructive methods.  Instead, I split.  Compartmentalization to the extreme.  I divided to survive.  

I once heard somewhere, "War is hell.  To make it truly despicable, add religion."  Through out history, I could point out horrendous events done in the name of someone's god or belief that they are god.  (Egyptian ancient history is fascinating.)  In my life time, one of the worse events of 'religious hysteria' was Jonestown.  People still use the phrase, "Don't drink the kool-ade."  Other newsworthy disasters have pointed the harsh light on compounds where parents in religious fervor abuse their own children to meet some extreme notion of what "god" wants them to do.  People shake their heads and think it is just a few isolated events.  I know from my own experience that events may not be so isolated.  I also know that many people that have suffered abuse have been ostracized by religious groups.  In my case, the abuser was a fine upstanding religious man.  In milder forms it can be just as disheartening.  I remember in high school making a commitment not to do homework on the Sabbath.  I also remember being punished for not doing my homework on the Sabbath.  In my senior year in high school my friends decided to save me from my religion.  Mine was different than theirs.  They were shocked when I changed friends to someone that would allow me to embrace my own beliefs.  The people at church saw me as 'wild' and 'not good enough' for their group.  That was ok.  I had my belief in Christ as my Savior that rather than being pushed away was strengthened by the stresses to push me away.  KavinCoach and I had several discussions on my belief in Christ and how that belief was part of my survival.  My way of thinking when I was suicidal, "How does one explain to Christ that Earth life is too tough?"  God is my strength but I wasn't protected.  God shares His peace but His way isn't comfortable.  Spiritual abuse to me is an attack by others to show to you that you are unacceptable to God.  What greater pain can be caused than to tell someone that they are not good enough to approach their Heavenly Father.  I have never found a painting of Christ that matches my image of Him.   My thoughts.... As a young child, I was dragged to the very depths of a filthy river.  Left to drown and never be heard from again.  I barely had strength to look up.  That's all it took.  Gentle hands pulled me to shore.  In my fear, I pulled away to the very edge of destruction.  He sat still and waited for the fear to fade.  He never rushed me.  He waited until I was willing to come to Him.  He cleaned my wounds. He bound up my heart.  He taught me line upon line that He loved me and wanted to take me home to Heavenly Father.  No matter what happened to me that thread of faith kept me bound to Him.   


Laurel Hawkes said...


mulderfan said...

I'm amazed and happy that you were able to hold onto your beliefs through all the abuse you suffered!

Hugs, P/M

Ruth said...

Thanks Laurel and P/M.