Therapy was a break through for me and so was yesterday. I think it just all clicked in my brain. I know I still have a journey ahead but I am making some huge steps. I have ALWAYS feared my m. whether I would like to admit it or not- I did. I would fear she would take my sisters away for good, I would fear of disappointing her, I would fear of the degrading letters and emails she would send. I would fear I wouldn’t measure up, gaining too much weight, not pursuing the career she approved of, not living the life she approved of. But mostly I was fearful of losing my sisters.
My therapist sat back after she heard some more stories I shared with her. Just to hit on briefly about how I cannot go into a church sometimes and sit through a service without triggers. I can’t see families together because mine isn’t. I can’t hear the familiar Bible stories or verses because it’s pounded into my head. It brings back painful memories of childhood. Not only would memories verses be plastered all over the walls in her house but she would play a tape for us of the Bible at night that we would have to listen to to fall asleep. We’d move from church to church, lesson after lesson, daily readings of the Bible together. Memory verse contests, home schooled teachings of the Bible, video tapes of the Bible would sometimes be the only thing I would be allowed to watch. IT was horrendous. Everything was pounded into us & shoved down our throats. There was never a choice involved- it was forced fed.
A couple of the most prominent verses are “Children obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.” Colossians 3:20. I didn’t EVEN HAVE TO LOOK THAT UP! I knew it by heart. This one I did have to look up, Ephesians 6:2-3, 2“Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”
Those two verses are seriously the first two you learn growing up in that house. I lived there til I was 14 and had to visit there until I was 17-18, so I saw my little sisters and how they were raised. If they didn’t comply, they weren’t spanked- they were literally beaten until they stopped. Not just 1 smack with discipline- it was smack, smack, smack smack smack!
I brought a letter my m. sent to me on my birthday so my therapist could see it. She was astonished. This card didn’t look like a birthday card and it was a blank card originally. It wasn’t signed by the whole family, (I got nothing from my sisters but a group voicemail), it was just signed by m. But it was written in to the max of just Bible verses about love. Make me puke! My therapist had then told me that I have been severely Spiritually Abused by her.
She picked up the card and said, “How many more times do you want to go through this?” That didn’t really sink in until the next day to be honest. But what she said next hurt so bad I couldn’t believe she said it. She said, “You already do not have a relationship with your sisters. You are not in their lives.” I got a lump in my throat and my eyes started to burn. I had never heard that or thought of that. I told her how much that statement hurt but I couldn’t repeat it. So she said it again. I flustered and started crying. “It hurts you because deep down, you know it’s true.”
It is true. All this time I had been fearing the most damaging thing my m. could do to me and she has already done it. My therapist let that soak for a minute and then began to comfort me by saying another truth. “You don’t have one now, but you will have an opportunity. They will come to you whether they are 18 or older, and your mother will no longer have control over them legally. And ya know what, I am so proud of you for actually being able to even attend church with how much you have been through. You may not be able to go when you have triggers but you need to learn to separate the difference between your abuse and what it’s like to have faith.”
The next morning I sat up a Googled Spiritual Abuse. I found this really good article/site that talks about how God doesn’t approve of spiritual abuse. Matthew 18:6, “If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”
That is the EXACT moment of when it all clicked in my head. The reason why I never ever could really go against my m. or step dad fully was because of the guilt of disobeying God. I had to honor them, and obey them in everything. That meant eat what I was told to eat, sit when they said sit and be who they said be. It all makes complete sense to me now. Thinking on this is actually comical to me now, how easy it was to fool me. I can see it plain as day. And now I know God is not thrilled about this at all! It is not my fault, I was a little one she caused to stumble. She is control and power hungry. She twists the words of God to benefit her. And it is better for her to drown in the sea.
Once I was able to see all that so clearly- I felt God stand behind me and empower me to do what I did next. My therapist recommended that I speak up. I kinda shook at the thought because I didn’t want to, I couldn’t imagine doing that. She asked why. I responded, “because I don’t want to stir up the hornet’s nest.” She asked why again. I couldn’t come up with an answer. Fear. Fear of what? My sisters are already taken from me. It was because back to that key thought, “well if I do that, I am not honoring my mother and father, I am rebellious, ungrateful, horrible daughter….” THOSE aren’t my words- that’s what I’ve “been trained” to think.
So next, I went onto Facebook. I made a status talking about how I do not want a relationship with my m., I have never had one with her. (I don’t ever call her mother, I call her by her real name) How it breaks my heart I have to have pre approval to be able to see my own sisters. And that I am not going to stroke her ego to just maybe be able to see my sisters. How my m. uninvited me to this past christmas, how I never hear from her for months at a time and I want nothing to do with her. I am done being silent.
Now my m. doesn’t have facebook but my aunts, uncles, cousins and friends do. I didn’t post it to be mean or to get back at her. I posted it to let everyone know what they have always assumed. I then later posted another status saying that no one has to choose sides mine or hers. And that if you have a relationship with her you will still be able to have one with me. Also that I will never talk about situations about her unless that person asks- then I will answer.
I got a lot of support from my friends and family surprisingly enough. But the family that is related to both of us pretty much stayed out of it. Except a couple people who said “it takes two”- meaning I am at fault too. Well, I am not and some of my friends stood up to them for me, which was nice. I didn’t expect to “start a war”, I am just letting people know I’m not faking a relationship with my abusive m. anymore. Then that is when my therapist’s question that lingered in my head was answered, How much more are you going to take of this?. None.